Sensitive Sounds
Artist Duo, Elif Öner & Evrim Kavcar

Sensitive Sounds slowly came into existence at a challenging period around 2018, during our private conversations with each other. At that time in Turkey, under a climate of heavy censorship and repression, our attempts to reclaim our basic rights were met by violence. Many of our friends were migrating to Europe.  At such a time period that rendered us mute on a personal and social level, an interpersonal dialogue was born between us out of a need to connect and to mend what was broken personally, socially and ecologically. We were also talking about different faces of violence in the world in general.   In the midst of political and economic crises, we were becoming more and more silent. We felt that what was at stake was our inner voice. We could observe that losing touch with our inner voice was leaving us with less care and more aggression.

Where carelessness ruled, it was difficult for the “sensitive” to survive.  In a world that was becoming insensitive, we chose to direct our attention to sounds that were not dominant; sounds that either escaped our attention or were deemed unimportant. Like “The sound of a hesitant step at a point where you don’t know which way to go while searching for an address” or “The sound of juices spurting out of the tangerine as you peel” . We had feelings towards these sounds. In a world dominated by sight and speed, these sounds triggered memories… memories of specific smells, tastes or touch. 

With a childish curiosity, we started to re-listen to our surroundings, to think about sounds that are rooted in our memory, and we started to describe these sounds to each other. Finally, we ended up writing down descriptions of specific sounds. With a curiosity regarding the nature of collective memory, we opened up this process for participation. Our need to step out of the closed circle of the art scene led us to reaching out to people from different professions. Together we made a series of public talks on the subject of “sound”.  Last year, along selected quotes from these talks a selection of  “sensitive sound descriptions” are turned into an artists’ book. A Dictionary of Sensitive Sounds was published. 

Sensitive Sounds presently continues in various forms such as performance, video, public programs and participatory projects and collaborations, where we keep on tracing the subjective, social and cultural layers of sound.