Sound Gestures met Serhat Agacan en Luca Hillen

Sound Gestures is a programme that investigates sound and the ownership of sound through looking, feeling and moving. A programme developed together with the Kentalis Signis, a school for children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. The third chapter of Sound Gestures was developed with Serhat Acagan and Luca Hillen in the framework of the exhibition ‘Love songs for the Savages’ with Iris Ferrer, Kent Chan and Julian Abraham ’Togar’. Presented at de Appel from 14 June until 4 July 2021.

Questions about heat and warmth were the starting point of the third chapter of Sound Gestures. Heat and warmth are usually associated with the sense of touch. But how does one translate this into the other senses --- of sound, of sight, of smell or of taste? What does heat and warmth really feel like? What emotions does it bring forward? What are the thin lines that turn an attack of heat into a warm embrace? To begin perhaps with the very basic and human sensorial aspects, in understanding what makes us similar but also different, could we perhaps come together without judgement?

Together with Luca Hillen, Serhat Acagan and the Kentalis/Signis school we developed a series of sessions that focused on these sensorial aspects – feeling with our whole body. With Luca Hillen, a mime artist, the students investigated how our feelings are being formulated, starting from our thoughts, then stimulating our emotions and ultimately effecting our senses. Thoughts, feelings and physical sensations play an important role in the understanding of our individual positions in both a group and on our own. This understanding is effective, particularly when it comes to prejudices and habit patterns within ourselves and relationships with others. The sessions with Hillen in de Appel’s exhibition helped the students to learn and discover while using their whole body.

Through the years, Serhat Agacan has developed a passion for music. Agacan, deaf since birth, makes us think about how we feel music and how every individual has a different way of listening. Through his hands, gestures and sign language he translates music into a bodily experience. With the students of Kentalis, Agacan shared his passion for music and dance. Together they made music without sound. They learned how to translate a song into Dutch sign language and body movements. In the exhibition space of de Appel they performed two songs that defined what ‘warmth’ is for them, which were added as two new editions to the playlist of RAGADIGIOGO that was played in Kent Chan’s Hot House installation.

A big thank you to all the students and teachers of the Kentalis/Signis school for fully embracing this project and including the project in their lessons. Special thanks goes to Cindy Tuijp-Ronda, Claudia Vermeij, Iris Ferrer, Kent Chan and Julian Abraham ’Togar' for their advice on the implementation of the workshops and performances in the school and the exhibition.

Workshops met Luca Hillen en Serhat Acagan. Beelden door Jimena Gauna, juni 2021.