Guest Curator: Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski

Consolidate, Save, Migrate: My Sonic Bio

A journey that began in 2013 has definitely been one that put process first, patience second. The piece, composed through interviews, captures my sonic journey with Holly Ingleton who invited me to curate this piece and gave me space to think and reflect as well as the tools to create by teaching me the basics in Pro Tools, which has been empowering, a part of the journey I had not foreseen.

Images by Ochi Reyes, Laura Kidd, Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski

Photo credits: Ochi Reyes, Laura Kidd, Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski

This podcast is based around a series of interviews with the following:

•Ain Bailey, who has often supported me, whether it be helping me to realise the jingle in my head (recorded in the first floor toilet of The Lambeth Women’s Project) based on my love for Kenny Everett, for the Jo Spence Radio project as part of art group X Marks the Spot, or record the ‘pot banging in Windrush Square for the Save the Lambeth Women’s Project campaign.

•Cay Castegnetto, who is one of the first people I ever explored music with beyond listening to it, and someone that I have watched in bands like Sonora.

•Aurora Dawn Ellis, we used to work together, DJ together, has been the person that pushed me that step further with a ‘Yes you can’ attitude at every step of the way and has taken me around the UK singing backing vocals in our band the Screaming Skulls as well as touring with Alabama 3 doing merchandise/production and being able to live to tell the tale. Or creating the soundtrack for the short film The Journey of The Bronze Woman, Monument of Love – The Installation (2009).

•Em Fitzgerald showed me how easy it was to begin a band (you basically get on with it) should have been included but the day I was supposed to interview her, the sun was shining so drinking in the sun literally took priority.

The piece also includes my nine-year-old self, as well as a recording of my mother from 1968. I was also encouraged and inspired by Professor Sonia Boyce’s Inaugural Lecture at Middlesex University, Collapsing the boundaries between art, sound and collaboration, where she challenged those in attendance to get creative and which coincided with me thinking or being invited to curate this piece for the Her Noise Archive blog. Another starting point was the Jeanette Bastian Sir Hilary Jenkinson Lecture at UCL’s Department of Information Studies. At the time it made sense to create a sound piece, though I didn’t yet have the ‘skills’. So I created my own brief: challenge myself, learn skills and take on the spirit of HerNoise. So I did, however I would never have imagined that the journey would take me on a voyage. I decided to get personal and explore relationships that I had with others in regards to sound and music. I wanted to somehow acknowledge its presence and the role it plays in my life, whether through projects like Ladies Rock!, Girls Rock! UK, or dancing, DJ-ing, recording events/talks, or simply enjoying it all with my family and friends, I had the desire to bring it all together. Audio continues to play a role in the way that I work. In recent years it’s been a way to evidence and capture, reflect and or remember, or a way to deliver.

–Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski, 2015

 

Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski is a London based artist, designer and archivist. Her research focuses on Archival Therapy, a practice that incorporates the creative use of archives and their therapeutic impact on marginalised communities. Through this practice communities are able to develop their voice in a way that is rehabilitative and empowering. Her research also centres on Black British feminism/activism during the periods 1970 – to date.

She has just finished an arts residency at the Womens Art Library, Goldsmiths with art group X Marks the Spot, cataloguing and exploring the Women of Colour Index collection, which charts the emergence of Black Women’s art in the UK during the ‘Critical Decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s. The collection comprises ephemera, press cuttings, exhibition catalogues and slides of individual artworks and installations.

Ego is currently working on the archives of artist and archivist Rita Keegan and photographer Charlie Phillips.

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