Living Archives’ client, Borneo Bengkel has brought musicians together from the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Malaysia to digitally collaborate remotely from different countries to create a stunning collection of sound, music and endangered languages to share with the world.
Using the platform, which makes it easy to upload, organise, curate and exhibit digital multi-media content, Borneo Bengkel opened up entirely new channels of engagement to showcase the work, which they have called Soundbank, connecting with communities and stakeholders across the globe.
The creation which explores the theme “Divided By Lockdowns and Borders, Can We Still Connect Digitally Across Oceans Through Sound?” is now an online interactive exhibition on Living Archive, presenting words, songs and photographs from British, Malaysian and Indonesian collaborators.
Th groundwork for the project was started last year when arts organisation Borneo Bengkel organised an online gathering. The collaborators shared their music and creative practice virtually and then uploaded, shared and remixed audio and visuals on Living Archive.
Soundbank, is now an established digital archive and play space of music, visuals and found sound. Living Archive owner Nick John Williams is delighted with the success of Soundbank and that the platform has enabled such an innovative collaboration. He said:
“I developed Living Archive during the pandemic from my base in the North East of England, as a solution to showcase, collaborate and inspire creativity, co-creation and participation across the cultural sector.
“Whether you are keen to promote the full extent of your activities, eager to showcase more of the creativity of participants and stakeholders, or simply need a collaborative hub for your projects, Living Archive makes it easy to tell the whole story of your organisation, the work you do, and the impact that you create.
“The innovative way that Borneo Bengkel have used the platform is to be commended as not only is it a truly engaging exhibition that everyone should visit, it is also a perfect example of the power of Living Archive to catalyse new ways of working. It will raise awareness of the incredible impact projects such as this have for both participants and audiences around the world.
Soundbank brings together musicians exploring folk music with a contemporary twist. The recordings include over five endangered indigenous languages such as Scottish Gaelic, alongside Dusun and Kayan from Borneo. One of the contributors, Adrian Jo Milang, is a celebrated Bornean cultural practitioner working to revive traditional indigenous songs. He said:
“For many months I haven’t been able to visit the community elders who I usually sing with. Taking part in this project, and sharing our music and recordings on the soundbank, gave me a chance to connect with others and see that the work I do is part of a much bigger story of indigenous representation, preserving endangered languages.”
The curator of the project, Catriona Maddocks has spent 10 years working in South East Asia and currently divides her time between Borneo and her home in the North East. She said:
“The Soundbank project came from the realisation that even though we are so separated from each other, the digital world and Living Archive gives the means and opportunity to connect with people from distant places to create together. As both Borneo and the UK have a rich heritage in folk music, it was the perfect marriage, bringing people together to collaborate in an innovative way via this amazing platform.”
Soundbank is supported by the British Council’s Connections Through Culture grant. It can be viewed on www.borneobengkel.com/soundbank
More information on Living Archive is available at https://livingarchive.net/