Autogenesis is a project initiated by two individuals Mariam Kalandarishvili and Julio Pattio, living far away from home for long enough to remember where home really is, who decided to investigate contemporary music making and music listening habits in the Global Age. It is a project born out a deep sense of loss and an overwhelming, but not paralysing, pessimism. Fighting with all sorts of demons, it constantly dodges the pessimism and attempts to secure temporary locations, where creative music projects can coexist with other critical forms of personal and collective expression. Both currently living in Berlin and they don’t believe the mention of a city should entail any judgments or expectations regarding symbolic capital.
As If: What did you wish to explore within this mix?
Autogenesis: This is the first mix we were asked to make (cheers Blake!) as such, the idea is to present our philosophy of inclusiveness and the chaotic cultural text we believe characterises much of contemporary music. Roughly, half of the tracks were generously sent to us by great artists, people we have been associated with and others we expect more concrete forms of collaborations will still take place. There is quite a bit of South American music in it, but instead of simply celebrating it as a praise of origins (one of us comes from Brazil) the objective is rather to see how they can re-signify and be re-signified by other musical expressions. There is a very subjective play with the elements by the middle of it, but I don’t think one needs to know it in order to enjoy the mix. Also, on an even more personal level, the mix follows a journey starting at the bus station, where so many stories begin, and ending in a gigantic ferry, full of melancholia, lost in the seas of our own unborn memories.
Can you explain to us what made you want to start up Autogenesis?
The project comes as a need we both felt to address problems in the ways creative productions coming from the Global South are represented, diffused and appreciated where culture still shines as hegemonic, i.e. US and Europe. In this way, it has a lot of our experiences as non-Europeans living in Europe for long enough to not be able to even say where our home is anymore. Due to both personal and practical reasons we started focusing on music, but it has the ambition to speak beyond music as it feeds on many of our experiences of being constrained to fit into pre-established roles or to play according to rules that are devised far away from our own realities. We saw homeless people being pushed from warm places, so they don’t interfere with the new modern city landscape. We witnessed the well-intentioned diasporic turning their back to their own people, just so they could take part in the cosmopolitan, normative ethos. Even more, we saw historical forces, ready to open new, transformative temporalities, being so whitewashed that individuals coming from those realities are now ready to embrace all permissive aspects of the symbolic capital. This is particularly true in a city like Berlin, where all cultural potential seems to lay underneath of layers and layers of exceptionalism and one-sided stories. This emerging Silicon Valley seems to be born amidst techno beats and confusing, misleading symbols of freedom, technology and inclusion. From our standpoint, our only alternative was to dig deep, both into history and ourselves, to talk about and to enjoy music differently.
Where does your inspiration come from in regards to the magazine?
As for the magazine, we start mostly from the music release and try to build a more or less coherent issue together with it. The important thing for us is that texts should not attempt to explain the music release in any form, but rather to look for angles of approach and alignment so they can somewhere meet in their demands, concerns and interests. Of course, this doesn’t work all the time, and it’s good like that, because each issue takes us to different feelings, practices and forces us into other forms of organization. This way of organizing the magazine has lots to do with representational politics. We are pretty much against the ways ‘culturally diverse’ music festivals and other curating initiatives (re) present artists. We believe they benefit a lot from the privilege of presenting the new, and showing themselves as advocates of a new culture, of a new and tolerant Western society, that in the end, remains unilateral and patronizing, biased and demeaning. For us, the only possible way to represent artists is to represent ourselves together with them. And we are aware of the risks that are implied therein.
Overall, the inspiration for the magazine comes from a belief that music is not only music, and specially in the Global Age, when individuals are coming more and more together to the point of clash, it became really difficult to say ‘this is just music’. We believe much of the culturally diversified music that has been played nowadays in concert houses and bunkers turned into dance clubs are in fact historical texts, waiting for responsible reading, participatory translation and dialogue. How are you gonna deal with the fact that people using geographic or economic privileges are now releasing and making profit from music that was created under very specific, often adverse, socio-political conditions and simply make it dancefloor friendly? Or, how can you explain the irresponsible technological enthusiasm, when my father, his friends and many of my own friendsare being left behind by the same modernity people are so hastily celebrating? We are aware of the fact that we are living in complex, contradictory times. What we want is to address this complexity and these contradictions and to deconstruct what we see as an ideological and harmful logic of contestation and cultural diversity.
What got you into experimental music?
While growing up, experimental music seemed to offer a place where individuals could exchange many of the symbols of their own stories and engage with each other away from the determinations of the market. Although, I recognize that in reality things were not exactly like this and that in many aspects that sub-culture was reproducing the same forces it claimed to be questioning, I believe it still remains as a powerful idea, trying to advance honest motivations. I want to insist on the importance of these exchanges as they show that experimental music had much of its importance due to the space it gave to collective expressions of alterity. Reaffirming this seems to be particularly important now, in times of algorithms and monetisation of our behaviours, when corporate branding is so ubiquitous, yet vague, that sometimes I don’t know if we are celebrating creative individuals or the brands sponsoring them. It can also be that we are on it full of utopian hope, which would explain our insistence in connecting with people and together create a new language in which we would then be able to explain/understand our fears and plan strategies of endurance and survival.
You can find all of Autogenesis releases and publications here
And if you are in London catch Autogenesis as apart of ‘What time are you performing tonight?’ at the Charlton gallery, info of the exhibition here