Sláva Sobotovičová

No, Sir. Jane Eyre

2’29” – 2016

Featuring: James Harries, Sláva Sobotovičová

helicotrema_Sobotovicova_ImageAnne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë, by Patrick Branwell Brontë, c. 1834. 


How did you first start working with sound, and what are your references or inspirations?

I started in video, making video-performances with singing as the focal point. My references are in ‘low culture’: TV, pop music, home video, folk music, etc.

How does this work fit within your artistic research?

In my practice I explore amateur singing as a private tool for dealing with the everyday. Lately I have done a number of audios in which I sing a subversive line on top of an appropriated pop song (a sort of a mashup technique). I like combining historical material with nowadays pop culture.

Can you introduce your sound piece for Helicotrema 2016, entitled No, Sir. Jane Eyre?

The piece is conceived as an exchange between a woman singing and a man speaking. I wanted to test the qualities of a dialogue as such: both the sound (the rhythm, the ‘chemistry’ of a female and a male voice, the singing versus the speaking) and the content (a clash of two different mind sets).

Which aspect of the narration were you interested in investigating with this song that mixes with a monologue interpreted by a male voice?

I combined two different historical sources: the woman’s line is an old American courtship ballad in which the lady keeps replying No to anything the man says. The man’s line is of Mr. Rochester, a character from Jane Eyre, famous 19th century novel written by Charlotte Brontë.
I wanted to bring out the contrast between the authoritarian male character asking direct personal questions and the female replying by singing, sounding silly or naïve but also self-contained and rebellious.
On top of an obviously feminist hint I hoped for the exchange to sound funny and musical.