The Swamp That Was
a bicycle opera | Kaffe Matthews & Els Viaene 


In February Kaffe Matthews and i started the research for the bicycle project. We visited the Ledebirds, a multicultural music group in Ledeberg, an old Brewery and many other great places crossing the tour of the bicycle. One whole day we have spent in the Ipem archive listening back to old magnetic tapes with recordings and compositions made by one of the Institute's founders, Louis De Meester. Amongst them we found beautiful sound recordings from the Zoo of Antwerp made in the 60's.

Directed by Kaffe Matthews, The swamp that was is a multi-layered audio work made throughout 2012 in collaboration with Flemish sound artist Els Viaene. To be performed by you as you pedal the streets on a satellite linked audio bicycle. A work of sonic archaeology that knits together the spirits of the living and the dead and will hover invisible over the streets until you cycle through to trigger and reveal its shifting strands and harmonies. Enveloped by the music that will change as you move,  you can find your own narrative.


"The Swamp That Was, A Bicycle Opera" shown at Electrified III : The Responsive City and Track.
Co-production Timelab / Vooruit Arts Centre / SMAK

Directed by Kaffe Matthews, in collaboration with Dave Griffiths, Peter Edwards and Els Viaene