Nicolás Jaar and the Shock Forest Group
‘These livelihoods make worlds too – and they show us how to look around rather than ahead.’
Chapter 2WO Public Programme
Shock Forest Group (2019) is an international research team consisting of architects, cartographers, linguists, coders, urban planners, sound makers, biologists, designers and engineers. It is an experiment in open research, where the research categories surface as the research develops. It is also an experiment in alternative education, a classroom without a teacher, where learning emerges as a product of polyphony.
These livelihoods make worlds too – and they show us how to look around rather than aheadAnna Tsing
Chapter 2WO offers you an insight in the world of Chilean artist and composer Nicolás Jaar. His fourten-week stay in Zaandam will be an intensive exploration of the Hembrug site. Together with his Shock Forest Group – named after the nearby ‘Schokbos’ – Jaar will conduct research into Het HEM, from which the site’s historical, sociological, archeological and geographical data will serve as the source material for a sound piece that is both about and from the location where it is played.
Our current time is dominated by rational knowledge of data and facts. Hard certainties and alternative facts are difficult to tell apart, and although we are increasingly measuring and looking, we seem to have forgotten how to know things. What role can music play in this? As a form of communication that goes beyond facts, words, gestures, music penetrates deeply into our being and touches emotional understanding within us.
"These livelihoods make worlds too – and they show us how to look around rather than ahead"
– Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
According to anthropologist Anna Tsing, by exploring the ‘livelihoods’ around us, we can better understand how economic and ecological tensions affect our shared environment and how we can work toward a more pollution-resilient ecosystem.
For Chapter 2WO, Nicolás Jaar and his team of researchers consisting of cartographers, linguists, coders, sound makers, biologists, designers, and engineers will use Het HEM as a metonymy for the problems that the world is currently facing. By zooming in on hyper-local data from the Hembrug site where Het HEM is located, Jaar will develop an 'instrument of resonance' of music in which both data and intangibles merge into a new form of ‘listening’.
The Hembrug site was put into use at the end of the 19th century for the manufacture of weapons and ammunition. Building 429, where Het HEM is located, was commissioned by NATO in 1956 to produce .50 bullets. After years of vacancy, the site became public again in 2014. This monumental place with tangible traces to its controversial history serves as a fitting backdrop for questioning current social developments.
In the first ten weeks of this Chapter, the research group thoroughly investigated the building that HEM now houses, the Hembrug site and the surrounding area. The research results can be seen from November 21 in the presentation No Camouflage.
In addition to the works of the Shock Forest Group, Jaar presents his first in situ work Incomprehensible Sun, a sound and light installation in the 200 meter long underground shooting range. Subsequently on October 17 he launched, together with sound artist Vincent de Belleval, the work Retaining the Energy, but Losing the Image.
Throughout the programme, results of the research will be presented as lectures, guided tours and musical performances. For a detailed daily overview on the events, please check our calender and social media .