May 30, 2024
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The power of the sound and artistic freedom

Haris Sahačić, from Sarajevo, is the Head of Administration and Radio at Crvena Association for Culture and Art. For “Crvena”, art and activism are aesthetical, social, and political tool for mass mobilization for change. Thanks to a WBF Move Grant, Haris extended a cooperation with two organisations from Belgrade and Struga, in 20 days fully funded regional mobility. Finalizing his project, we sat down for a long discussion about the profession of sound designer and the objectives of the “Radio Atelier” project.

WBF: First of all, we congratulate you. But before we talk in the “Radio Studio” project itself, can you tell our followers about what you do?

Haris Sahačić: I am a media designer by profession; the field I deal with implies the design of audio data.

WBF: What does the job of a media designer mean in your case? And how does it fit in with the general purpose of your organization?

Haris Sahačić: The development of technology that we culturally understand today as an evolutionary achievement lasts and daily generates new strategies, conditions, standards and aesthetics of creativity and work. Within this living context, supply-demand relationships evolve and change, both in the labor or services market and in the capital market. Media designers are no exception, their work belongs to an artistic activity because in their work they shape – at least when it comes to me – the sound, concepts, aesthetics and contexts it forms.

WBF – How did the profession of sound designer specifically come about?

Haris Sahačić: Sound design was the task of an electrical engineer in the 1960s, it implied technical responsibility to transfer the audio signal of the source in the best possible quality to the final destination, the transmitter or speaker. The profession as such has changed at a tremendous rate. The work itself, still oscillating between a technical process that is conditioned by the knowledge of the elementary laws of the nature of sound as an alphabet and a creative process that is conditioned by the knowledge of the relationship within sound as a grammar of artistic expression, becomes the context of the logic of the binary framework for the creative formation of the digitized signal in order to process it wherever communication is needed.

WBF – How does the profession itself perpetually evolve and give the technique the spirit of aesthetics and art?

Haris Sahačić
: Yes, that’s how the signal culture developed over time, within which we live today and on which we depend more and more every day. Everything’s changed. Sound is no longer understood only as an analog wave of mechanical pressure, but has become a series of data, zeros and units, its grammar is no longer a composition or harmony because today we achieve it by conceptualizing artificial intelligence generators, even the processing of sound quality has gained its aesthetics and genres. The tone is tuned and can be molded to the Hertz. Working within the afore-mentioned context, between will and freedom, involves conceptual creativity and concentration and time and organization but above all peace and quiet. The media designer is also a sound recordist and editor and composer and musician and producer and sound programmer but above all the media designer is a conceptual artist who creates mediality as a circumstance of artistic but also any other message.

WBF – What is the status of your profession in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Haris Sahačić:
The profession as such is not recognized administratively. The media designer does not exist in the occupation register. For example, the tone master as conditionally speaking his ancestor, at least when it comes to the medium of sound, according to the specification of the profession still implies those jobs of electrical engineers that I mentioned earlier. Those professionals who dealt with the tone in the last century have long since retired. Public universities do not have study programs that create independent artistic content creators in the field of contemporary sound processing. Private universities take the first steps and bring in visiting experts. Learn only what is basic. Not to mention the environmental issues of acoustics. The services market does not recognize the sound designer as an artistic activity, nor as a craft activity, in fact it is not possible to register a craft. In principle, it is not possible to be a sound former. An independent and legal artistic creator.

WBF – As you have previously mentioned, Western Balkan Fund has financially supported your project Radio Atelier and in May of the current year you are planning a twenty-day stay in Struga, North Macedonia, what is the project purpose?

Haris Sahačić: A radio studio such as an educational creative project that I plan to realize in North Macedonia involves practical work and study research of all craft elements of radio art production, from exploring creative possibilities of articulation to electro-acoustic composition of noise and online broadcasting. In essence, a radio studio could be a single unique craft that involves providing a range of artistic services relevant to the craft of artistic sound design as the smallest unit of which larger sound conceptions, art installations and experiments relevant to radio as context are made.

WBF – Do you think creative freedom and independence are real in craftsmanship?

Haris Sahacic: Yes. It has always been there. By definition, a craft is a learned manufacturing, processing or service activity. For example, a fast-food owner (čevadžija) in Bosnia and Herzegovina can become a millionaire just because he can charge for his service. He can value the work he puts into everything, and on the one step he must take to put a portion of čevapčići on the customer’s table, he can think about repetitive business decisions, he can think about markets, can investigate customer behaviour, he can deal with assessments. It can establish criteria for the quality of its own service, it can perfect its service, it can charge for it without intermediaries, it can achieve the ideal of total business independence and freedom to decide on its own development or decay, and ultimately it can strive to create a system that functions by itself, as mechanisms maintained in motion by gravity.

It’s very simple. Any educated professional should be able to be a craftsman. Because every craftsman would sooner or later be verified by the market itself and forced to bring the qualities of his craft to the level of art, recognition and uniqueness. To reach this level requires sacrifice, hard work, research, serious approach, honor, responsibility… Some would succeed, some wouldn’t. Because the market judges.

Here we really need to put the focus on the degree of studiousness of institutional study and recognition of practical skills that appear in various activities as a service. More and more of them are institutionally uncovered, new. Technology changes practical services far more dynamically than activities. The big question is what services people perform and what becomes the automatism of artificial intelligence and how to learn conceptualization as the basis of creativity of the time to come. If we were to change the paradigm with which we understand and “regulate” the labor and services market today, many relations in the domestic economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina would change, especially those that imply the evaluation of education.

This is an adaptation of the original interview released for Radio ETERITORIUM in Bosnian Language

For the full interview in the Bosnian Language click here