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Updated: June 22, 2011 19:06 IST

Bursting with ideas about sound and light

Deepika Sarma
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Ace of sound: The writer, activist, composer Corin Faife. Photo: Varsha Yeshwant Kumar
Ace of sound: The writer, activist, composer Corin Faife. Photo: Varsha Yeshwant Kumar

The installation plays with sound and the structure in a curious interaction between the inanimate and the living

Corin Faife is a man of many hats (he even wears one during the interview). This young writer, activist and composer from the U.K. seems to have plenty of ideas bubbling in his head, but the project at hand seems to occupy most of his attention for the moment: Jaaga Sound & Lights, an exhibition of interactive media artworks by seven artists.

Corin says he discovered Jaaga, the alternative space for art and culture at Shantinagar, only after he arrived in Bangalore to reconnect with family.

“It was an interesting space with interesting people, and that was enough for me.”

He springs to life while talking about his contribution to Sound & Lights, Sonosphere-1.

The installation plays with sound and Jaaga's structure in a curious interaction between the inanimate and the living.

Ten speakers fixed at different points within the structure across different floors play sounds that vary according to mood, decided by the level of activity.

With only two people strolling through at the moment, the sound is soothing, washing gently through the building.

“It's as though the sounds originate from the Jaaga structure,” says Corin, who studied digital sound production at Nottingham's Stone Soup Studios, “one sound building from the other”. Corin stops to draw attention to a sound that he says was made by an autorickshaw passing outside.

Now a smooth, pleasant whoosh, the sound has been manipulated using digital software on his computer, transformed from the noisy rattle of the city's traffic.

Back in the U.K., Corin put his knowledge and talent to use, teaching music technology to youth excluded from mainstream schools and young offenders.

Their attention, he says, falters frequently during lessons in maths, “but they're suddenly eager when you're talking to them about how to make a beat”.

Looking at the computer screen at which Corin's been working, with its fascinating waves and buttons, it's easy to see why.

Versatile

Corin also writes for the magazine Ceasefire, on topics ranging from pop culture to the ills of the British system of granting asylum. The latter is a subject about which he doesn't mince words, having lost a friend, 27-year-old Iraqi Osman Rasul, to its cruelty.

Describing the system as “absolutely spirit-crushing”, he says that it leaves asylum-seekers isolated in terms of access to legal rights as well as earning an income.

Blaming “island mentality” and the poor financial situation in Britain for the negative attitude towards asylum-seekers, Corin says he hopes that in the not-too-distant future “people will look back on it as an aberration” in British history.

Ask him what plans he has after Sounds & Lights, and he shrugs. But he mentions a desire to travel through the Himalayas and a possible entry into journalism some day. But it seems likely that Bangalore hasn't seen the last of Corin Faife.

Keywords: Sounds & Lights

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