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Takeover #215 Annabel Schouten

Annabel Schouten: Instagram / Website

#215 (17/10 - 21/10, 2022) written by Esther van Zoelen

Annabel Schouten calls herself a ‘muzieklandschapskunstenaar’ (soundlandscape artist) and ‘geluidsvinder’ (sound finder). These are words she invented herself that help to describe who she is as an artist. She is not merely a musician or composer, but also interested in music as an act. She loves how music can create silence and take up time, and how it can help us to listen more carefully to the sounds around us. Annabel likes to listen actively, by figuring out the different sounds things can make. When researching a place, she always takes with her small sticks to drum on objects and artifacts around her; sound is already there all around us.

The role of the audience within her musical compositions or installations varies from passive listening to active participation  The latter Annabel has recently been developing. Participants are invited to take on more responsibility in order to realize making music does not necessarily require a specific skill. Another concept Annabel uses to describe her work is ‘friendly activism’. She connects landscapes to music and people to nature. The audience should not be restricted to a specific action, but is invited to explore the space around them themselves.

Annabel also creates some of the instruments that are used in her artworks. These are based on already existing instruments, but transcend the one-sided use of them. Annabel’s instruments are meant to create spaces for encounters and music is treated spatially. This way the instrument itself becomes a composition; the way it is designed already entails a melody. They thus consist of the function to make sounds, as well as the function of encounter.

For her graduation, Annabel designed a new kind of concert: A walking concert. During these, sounds of nature and music are merged. A walk with moving and stationary musicians is made, with an audience following a route outside. For her graduation this took place at a fort. The different sounds played on various locations on the fort could never be heard simultaneously.

Taking time for walking and listening has been an important aspect of Annabel’s work. Now she focuses on time by creating a time to meet. The ‘Verbindingsboom’ is such a meeting place. Annabel realized she did not know the people in her neighborhood and decided there should be a place for encounters. It became a symbolic place for which people could make an imprint of their foot in concrete, which all were placed around a tree. This is a mark in time; footprints will change, but people will remember this moment whenever they walk past the monument. During the meeting stories were shared between people, which ended up creating a new part of the artwork Annabel had no control over.

During Annabel’s takeover we can expect footage she still wants to release. Videos and images on her working process as well as finished work. A compilation of encounters.

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