Connection Between Music, Society, and Urbanism
Music and contemporary art. What kind of connection does music have with such concepts as identity, imaginary, social movement or cityscape? To answer these questions we are joined in the studio today by Jorje Esda, a cultural manager and researcher from the Canary Islands
So as far as I know, starting August 15 through August 30, you are going to be a resident at the Isoliatsiia project, and to enlighten our audience, Isoliatsiia is a nonprofit, non-governmental platform for contemporary culture founded in 2010, and it presents cultural projects and supports socially active artists and creative producers in Kyiv, throughout Ukraine and worldwide. So tell us, what is this project that you are going to be working in the framework of being a resident of Isoliatsiia?
Exactly, I’m a cultural manager, and I’m working here in research, trying to create a portrayal of what is, the young generation of Ukrainian artists that are somehow related with the music industry.
Okay, so what do you think of the Ukrainian music industry then? Since you’re here.
I was here two years ago, and since then I think there’s a really big cultural movement that is growing.
You’re seeing a difference, right?
Yeah, I’m seeing a difference also when it comes to organizations, when it comes to events and, of course, when it comes to music, so I think there’s something happening, but of course I also feel that there are some music styles that don’t have [their] place yet here in Kyiv.
But Kyiv does need to embrace those…
Okay, what kind of music styles are we talking about?
Right now my focus is on techno music, and we are going to see that techno music is increasing a lot, so that’s what I’m more interested about, but of course, in my experience, I’m also seeing that there are other styles like for example Banga and so on that, so I’m also interested in seeing all this social movement and also seeing how this music is going in one way and another with the society.
What do you think, what are the factors in your personal opinion, what are the factors that actually influence the development of music styles in Ukraine and in the Ukrainian capital in particular?
Okay, so I would say that all the events that happened after 2015, after Maidan and so on, it gave the young generation new tools to experiment about themselves and try to find a self-identity. And I think, all this music, all this music as a scene, like for example the raver scene that I’m studying right now, creates a collective identity that makes it easier to experiment with yourself and try and to search a new identity.
Okay, you are a cultural manager, right? Could you talk a bit more about that? What is a cultural manager?
There are different types of cultural managers, but I’m more into art management, and this is the person that is between the artist and the organizations. So let’s say sometimes the artist doesn’t have a macro perspective of what is management, what is marketing.
So you’re like that string of connection in between.
Yeah, that’s the connection, and it’s also a person that, for me, has the mission to protect the culture and to work in culture and in art and to make, like, a society go to a next level and to increase knowledge, so it’s not like other managers.
As far as I know, you’ve studied in Madrid, Beijing, and Istanbul.
So what does all of that experience give to you once fulfilling your, let’s say, job applications?
I’m really interested in macroculture and to see how a lot of societies are connected right now. …that are super-connected but who couldn’t see these things like many centuries. And I think, I’m also, like, from the Canary Islands, which is like a place that has a lot of ties with Latin America, Europe, Africa, so all these international experiences give me, like, a deeper sense of what is the global culture and global music in this case, that is what I’m more into, music.
As a cultural manager with, let’s say, worldwide experience, how would you evaluate the level of Ukrainian youth in artistry and talent?
I was here two years ago, and when I came I was super impressed with the level of creativity and the minds of people in the creative industry. Because I have been more attached to Kyiv, I wanted to experiment with other cities also, but right now I only know about Kyiv. It is a place that is full of talent, and there’s like a lot of things happening, and I just hope that organizations and people can direct them the right way because there’s a lot of power, a lot of energy.
It is a lot of power and energy here in Kyiv since it’s the capital, but what about talented people who live in rural areas of Ukraine? There are a lot of talented artists who do not have access yet to the Ukrainian capital just for now. What would be your piece of advice for those people?
I think that advice for those people, right now I think all the people are moving to Kyiv, and that’s also like somehow one of the things that describe the art industry here in Ukraine. I think that it’s not only about people, but it’s also a lot about organizations and how they have to make this centralization and to try to give also, like, voice to those artists who live in small areas and that they have to move to Kyiv.
Okay, well, how long do you plan to stay here in Kyiv?
So I’m staying here in Kyiv until the 30th of August. Because then I have another project in Tbilisi in Georgia, but I hope to come back.
Are you coming back?
Of course, I’m going to come back.
What are your plans for when you come back?
The thing is that two weeks, I knew that, it was not enough to do research, of course not. But I’m trying to get, inspiration and to make the first step of the research, so I will come back to continue with the same research because it’s something that I think I’m trying to… I’m getting a deeper perspective of what is techno, but this is just like the surface. I want to go deeper and I need more time here because I cannot do it. Anyways, I have to be in Kyiv.
Even with the data that you have already managed to collect from the surface about the creativity level of Ukrainian youth and not only youth, for that matter, do you think that this particular sphere of art and culture in Ukraine needs more support from the government?
I’m not sure about it. I don’t have a clear question. But for sure I know that it’s difficult to be an artist here in Ukraine, as far as artists have also told me that “being an artist in Ukraine is not an easy task.” So yeah, I’m not sure if that’s a government issue or what, but there’s something to work on.