Digital Bridge artists Cutzi Hamid and Freya Edmondes talk to Ray Morrison about the art of digital collaboration, finding a common creative goal, and taking field recordings of motorbikes.
Artists Cutzi Hamid and Freya Edmondes have been working together over the last year on their project Digital World for Digital Bridge, an international opportunity launched by Sound and Music and CMAS. Read their Q&A with Digital Bridge's Ray Morrison below, where they discuss the collaborative process that led to their work and the creative bond they formed as a result of it.
Ray Morrison: Hello! Thank you both for the amazing piece you’ve produced as part of the Digital Bridge programme, and for sitting down with me today for this Q&A. To start with, could you tell us about the project you made for Digital Bridge and how it came about?
Freya Edmondes: We knew we wanted to work with transport or travel somehow, but in a local and international way, because when we first started exchanging sounds, that was something that kept coming up and seemed interesting. So from there we started collecting sounds of different vehicles and modern forms of transport, but then we also wanted to think about the natural forms of transport, like walking in nature. So we brought those things together. We both share this interest in combining the digital with the acoustic, analog world. So I think that’s where the idea came from.
Cutzi Hamid: Yeah. And when we started with this idea of this Digital Bridge, we also tried to imagine what this digital world sounds like. We thought about it theoretically, in the imaginary, about the zeros and ones, and it developed a lot from there.
RM: And how did it develop, what was your process?
CH: The first part was to get to know each other, so at first we had conversations to find out who our partner was. Then we decided to start working. We also talked about how the digital world works against, but is also part of, climate change, and things like that. It was kind of hard, a ‘digital bridge’ is difficult, it was a bit like I was in a long-distance relationship or something like that! Because we couldn’t say ‘oh I’ll see you tomorrow.’ The time difference was challenging, but it was nice.
FE: Yeah, it was nice. Also, it wasn't like we spoke every day, but the project kind of had its own sort of time zone, which I think is very much of the nature of the ‘digital bridge’. It's kind of atemporal and without a space. We were both relaxed about that and we found our own rhythm within that.
We shared ideas and voice notes throughout the project, and then when we met in person it was really nice. We sat down and basically brought everything that we'd done so far to the table. And that's when we could see it coming together as a piece and we started sharing videos too. That really catalysed it because it brought everything into reality. Especially being in the same space in Morelia and thinking about the festival (Visiones Sonoras) coming up, you know? So that's when it sort of just came together really quite quickly. We finished the work from all the ideas and content that we'd been gathering in maybe two weeks. And that was really fun. I really like our piece, I think it brings together a lot, it shows our personalities and the journey that we went on and it’s also a very abstract journey, which I think represents the space that we were working in.
RM: Did you have any creative differences?
FE: I think we're both quite compromising and open people. So no, we didn't have any disagreements, really. I think that when we also realised the theme of Visiones Sonoras was climate change, that inspired us to develop our thinking. We never had a disagreement, it was a nice equal share of ideas. It was totally a domino effect.
CH: I agree. We were just sharing lots of ideas, it worked well. Even when we were talking about this idea of ‘Digital Bridge’ just now, I think that added to our work. If we didn’t have the answer at that moment, we’d go away and think about it and then come back with new ideas for how things could work together.
RM: How has mentoring helped or informed your practice?
CH: My mentor helped me a lot to be more organised with my work. I had lots of ideas and was writing them all down, but my mentor was like ‘if you want everyone to understand your ideas, you need to order them!’ For me, that was so helpful. It was heaven for me.
FE: I worked with a musician that I met in Mexico. He was helping me a bit with some of the field recordings and different like, you know, microphones that really pick up the vibrations on different surfaces and stuff. It was stuff I knew a bit about from watching other people but it was nice to work closer with it. And he also does a lot of stuff with prepared piano and we did a bit of recording on pianos, and took those ideas into recordings, like with motorbikes.
RM: That all sounds great. Thinking again about your collaboration, it sounds like it was relaxed and worked organically. Do you have any tips for other people who want to do international collaborations?
CH: I think it was relaxed but also we had a lot of everything. There were times when we were stressed, for example at the end, which is to be expected. At the end we were like, ‘oh my god!’
FE: Yeah, that was also quite productive. Sometimes it’s just like that. I really value the fact we took that time to really think about the ideas together.
CH: Yeah, I think when we met we were craving the connection to create the piece together.
RM: And finally, how has it developed your practice or your thinking about future collaborations?
FE: For me in terms of collaborations, I’d love to work together [with Cutzi] again, and to be involved in Visiones Sonoras again. We talked a bit about doing a residency potentially, so that would be great. Apart from that, I have a few things to finish, like albums and productions and stuff. But I think from this, it would be nice to reach out to people to do more international collaborations. It was very special on this occasion, to do it in this way.
CH: This piece we’ve created for Digital Bridge is so different from my sound universe. It’s not the kind of piece that I’m used to doing. So after this project, my sound will be different. I think it’s so clear when you hear my sound before and after this programme. And thinking about future collaborations, I would like to do more. I am applying for some sound residencies in Europe and I would love to work together again!
RM: Amazing! That’s so great to hear. Thank you both so much!
Watch the video for Cutzi and Freya's project, Digital World, below
Watch the Visiones Sonoras Festival Panel