Yvette Janine Jackson is a composer and installation artist who brings attention to historical events and social issues through her radio operas. She blends experiences with her work as a theatrical sound designer and electroacoustic musician into a narrative style of composition. ‘Invisible People (A Radio Opera)’ and ‘Destination Freedom’ were released on the album ‘Freedom’, produced by the Fridman Gallery, and she debuted her ‘Radio Opera Workshop’ ensemble during the premiere of ‘The Coding’. Yvette’s work has been featured at Fylkingen, Museums Quartier Tonspur Passage, San Francisco International Arts Festival, Borealis Festival, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and in residence at Stockholm Elektromusicstudiom.
This invitation to contribute to Longform Editions coincides with a moment of return to developing an ecosystem of compositions that I began at the start of the century. Crate digging through personal archives of abandoned projects and synthesising with current directions connects me to my past and future selves. The composition process is guided by listening with the body for narratives within the sounds. Sometimes this leads to claustrophobic panic attacks and, at other times, I find myself in a state of restorative meditation wherein I lose track of time.
I do not intend for the listener to respond in either of these ways. ‘Test Flight No. 1’ is an etude for a series of compositions themed around commercial space tourism. It picks up where Destination Freedom left off. (Destination Freedom is a radio opera that begins in the cargo hold of a tall ship transporting Africans to the Americas and morphs into a spacecraft in search of freedom.) It is informed by ‘The Coding’, a video concrète that introduces my Radio Opera Workshop ensemble, and it influences ‘The Coding No. 2 (Synthetic Truths)’, an audio-visual installation created for the send + receive festival in Winnipeg.
Longform Editions reminds us to slow down and become intimate with the music. There are so many approaches to listening; it’s an activity that can be cultivated by individuals and practiced in communities. One can spend a lifetime learning how to listen to the world, local environments, strangers and loved ones, and ourselves. We are all out of practice.
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This has become one of the most important albums of my life. It’s essence is indescribable. Every sound from the start of the record through the end is placed delicately and with care. The album cover is by Julie Mehretu. It’s absolutely an incredible release for which I shall be eternally grateful. Aniket