Weekly Schedule (CET)

Experimental Radio Practice : Eldar Tagi – Elephant in the Room

01 November 2023
  • Radio Play
  • Dreamy
  • Druggy
  • Flowing

Elephant In The Room delves deeply into the exploration of two core concepts. First, it seeks to discern the patterns of normalization that fuel the existing imbalanced symbiosis between humans and animals. Second, it brings to the fore the question of the role of meat in the cultural identity of Central Asia, scrutinizing the evolution of the roles of animals within this culture and reflecting on prospective recalibrations of this interrelation. EITR unveils the discordance between the spiritual connection and reciprocal reverence with the non-human entities depicted in Tengriist cosmogony, and a transactional, objectifying worldview where animals are relegated to the status of objects, available for ownership, commerce, consumption, and amusement.

The composition is an intricate layering of field recordings from areas surrounding the Green Bazaar (grand central market) and Gorky Park in Almaty, Kazakhstan, melded with improvised interactions with a daxophone, and a public sculpture of Mushel—situated in the park and inspired by the animal symbolism in Tengriist calendar dividing life into twelve-year cycles.

Central to Elephant In The Room is an unabridged recording of a soundwalk on a September Sunday afternoon, traversing Gorky Park and the adjacent city zoo. Here, listeners can perceive the sounds of enclosed animals, working horses and ponies, human engagements with them, and other sounds from the environment. The auditory experience in the piece is further augmented with recordings from a Caucasian wedding at a proximate ‘shashlychka’ (local skewer-BBQ cafes), the murmur of a stream in the park, and the rhythmic chop and call of vendors in a nearby meat market. The incorporation of daxophone sounds and amplified sculptures, obtained through improvisational gestures imitating the repetitive anxious behaviors of caged animals, imbues the piece with a surreal dimension. This emphasizes the liminality of existence and blurs the delineations between the tangible and the conceptual.

Elephant In The Room underscores the paradoxical relationship between humanity and the animal kingdom, illuminating the dichotomy between spiritual respect and objectification, embedded in rich, layered sonic textures that transcend the boundary between reality and imagination.