I recorded in Zenica on a mid-April morning. There was a carnival in town, so I recorded from a chair swing carousel. There were only a couple of other people there, but I saw a few walking along the promenade.
In the auditory composition, a cyclical repetition of music swells back and forth, in and out of fidelity. The piece begins with an industrial whir, initially at a distance, but with each repetition this auditory distance decreases. Later, the industrial hum returns, imposing itself on the listening as an encircling texture. It is larger and more encompassing, yet also much closer and more immediate. There are a few hard cuts following a cacophony, creating a sense of distance from the sound that has started to consume the listeners; it extracts and reminds them of their presence in the listening experience.
In the creaking of the chair, we become aware of the distance of the listener/recordist’s position. The song is Bebi Dol’s Brazil, the penultimate entry of Yugoslavia into the Eurovision Song Contest in 1991. The piece loops, but not quickly or clearly, rather coming and going in a kind of trapped state. It is like a rift in time: transformation. There is something strange and disconcerting when we hear a recording of recorded sound. A photographed photograph is uncanny. A photograph is the ghost of an action, and this is the ghost of the image-making event (Curley and Pavlović 2021).
The birds also fly in circles. They are crows, whose presence is often associated with death. These birds might be the familiars of the wealthy local and international profiteers of current capitalism. Air pollution in Bosnia is some of the worst in the world, and it is suspected to play a role in the increasing cancer rates in the region. The first steelworks were built in the end of the 19th century, and Zenica was transformed into a fully planned factory town during socialist Yugoslavia. Factory production was halted during the Bosnian war (1992–1995) and was restarted in 2004 when it was sold to Lakshmi Mittal of ArcelorMittal, one of the wealthiest men in the world. Current employment by the factory is approximately one tenth of what it was in 1991. The corporation has failed to adhere to its environmental agreements with the Bosnian state and uses its economic significance – even if its contribution to the region is much less than promised – to threaten in the face of any regulatory acts (Geoghegan and Ahmetasević 2017).