Zaneta Sykes

Inner Arts Initiative, Inc.
"Sacred Seasons"
Artistic Discipline: Interdisciplinary
Category: Brooklyn Arts Fund
Grant Year: 2020
Location: Williamsburg

Drawing upon a deep connection to nature, spirit, memory, and the land, Zaneta Sykes’ art is a process of remembering our interconnectedness or the Filipino term, kapwa. In this society of limiting and oppressive narratives, people are taught to forget interconnectedness and the inherent sacredness that comes with our connection to the land. It is towards this remembrance, that Sykes directs their work, weaving ambient field recordings, rituals, channeled songs, and elemental percussion and electronics, to create performance experiences that are equal parts prayer, journey, and healing.

Highly dense city environments, such as Brooklyn, are filled with noise pollution, from jet streams to car horns to construction sites. Naturally, denizens become desensitized to sounds, each person tuning them out as to function in society that demands productivity and efficiency. But humans become isolated in this process of tuning out and start to dissociate from the environment, eventually disconnecting from each other and the self. Humans forget how to listen and forget how to be in a relationship with the land, as well as forgetting the inherent sacredness through that land-creature relationship. How can we reconnect to our earth and ourselves? Through sound and deep listening.

The Sacred Seasons project is this process of remembrance and reconnection. Through a series of three live solo performances taking place on the spring equinox, summer solstice, and fall equinox, participants will be guided in a deep listening and interactive ritual experience that weaves environmental field recordings, sound art, electronics, percussion, singing, and spoken word with ritual to explore nature's seasonal rhythms and remember ourselves as sacred interconnected beings of this earth.

The field recordings incorporated in this project were gathered throughout the Catskills and Adirondacks and evoke the elemental energies of spring, summer, and fall through recording natural ambient sounds, such as animals, insects, wind through the pines, waterways, and other natural occurrences. Through these field recordings and guided listening, this project essentially brings natural environments to participants in the city and helps participants cultivate greater connection to the environment through sonic awareness.