The person came and sat on the chair, asking me to bolt the door. I got up to bolt it and asked if the person felt better now. Fixing the mic on the person’s collar, I asked the person to say something for a soundcheck. The person responded with “hello…hello…hello”. As the voice boomed on the speaker, the person laughed aloud.
The person is curious about me and asks about which organization I belong to. I tell the person that I’m not from an organization. I paint. Then what is this that we are doing here? I tell the person that I want to talk about things I’ve never spoken of, the many voices that I keep concealed under the layers of skin, muscle and bones, so deep within that even their heartbeats cannot be heard by anyone — not even my closest. But I hear them all the time. Does the person hear them too? I wonder. When I’m choosing what I wear, what I eat, where I live — I hear those voices. I look and sound calm, like everyone else. So what would happen if I start to reveal them, if I could articulate them in words. An intersecting space is thus created for myself and others to say all that they can’t say openly. I listen because I want to be heard. As I’m offering my eyes, I’m also looking for eyes that can hear me. The person is relieved to know that I’m a participant too. That we are a community. I’m a listener and a speaker. But mostly I’m a listener and am thereby a witness. I don’t know if I offer any solution, I only offer my time and my eyes. I listen. I tell the person that whenever they need a break or want to stop talking, the person can do so. There are no rules here. The person asks, no rules? Are you sure? We begin.
I inform the person that whatever they say here today will be recorded and played later anonymously. Only the voices will reach people.
The person starts with their childhood…
About the Museum Resident
Baaraan Ijlal is an artist who created the sound installation ‘Change Room‘ as a Museum Resident in the Conflictorium in April, 2018. ‘Change Room‘ is a sound installation about a set of conversations about fear and apprehensions. The viewers walk into a room with the pre-recorded audio of a candid discussion playing. The viewers can opt to record their own reflections anonymously which are then added to the audio that is being played. Thus, the installation grows on the site. ‘Change Room‘ draws meaning and relevance by allowing anonymous space for a mutual dialogue to both the artist and the viewer, to acknowledge, respond and speak about their fear in total privacy in the context of preserving their rights to identity, liberty and equality. When people are constantly looking over their shoulders, the installation provides space that is at once anonymous and cathartic where one could let go off fear – a catharsis essential for a society to progress.