By: Dimitri Zaugg
The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake or dragon swallowing its own tail. It is often interpreted as the infinite cycle of nature’s endless creation and destruction. Birth and death, multiplicity and division, chaos and peace, satya and kali; these are just a few concepts that have inspired the Ouroborium.
Shaped as a geodesic dome, this interactive sonic installation was conceptualized by Found Sound Nation’s Chris Marianetti. It offers people to explore soundscapes with a unique collaborative approach.
OneBeat set up the temporary structure on Linden Street the week they were in Fort Collins for their week-long residency, October 15-21.
I arrive with a student, a hiatus from our usual music lesson. We stand outside the dome while
the guests are setting up cables and troubleshooting. Inside the dome, sits a single circular table decorated with an array of musical equipment. We recognize some common tools; microphones are hanging from the triangulated ceiling, a few keyboards waiting to be tickled, and a series of modulation/effect pedals are connected to the microphones. Other tools are not so intuitive, namely a collection of fruits – citrus limes, pineapples, artichokes, and watermelons. All with electrodes embedded into their rinds and connected to circuit boards and a laptop.As kids begin to enter the space, eyes widen with curiosity. I feel their initial hesitation to engage the bizarre setup. How does one begin to play in an ouroboros? Soon a cacophony of sound emerges; beats, screams, dings, keys begin to fill the space.
With some guidance, one person begins a rhythm on the fruit, with one hand on a grounded pineapple while another slaps some melons. As we all begin to feel the groove, a sonic base allows others to chime in. Tasteful chord movements and pads inspire others to express themselves. Minutes later everyone is engaged in the moment, only laughter and smiles interrupt the field.
There is a sense of anonymity. It’s not immediately apparent who is creating which sound and so it seems to allow for greater freedom, an uninhibited sonic experiment! Pushing the limits of their devices, the group reaches a climax, some players step away and a literal game of musical chairs ensues. People rotate places and so begins another movement.
The Ouroborium is a metaphor for life, often starting and ending with chaos. To enable harmony, we must remember to listen, often creating a void, a space for others to flow.
In the words of C. Santana, “Peace comes when you strip away all fear fragments.”
Dimitri Zaugg is a local musician, instructor, and community member