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Ayumi Paul is an artist based in Berlin. Her work expands across music, performance and visual art. She began playing the violin at age 5 and today devotes herself to listening. “Listening to humans, plants, stones, clouds, all there is.”
“I do not cease to discover more and new sounds, almost on a daily basis” she says. “The more I hear, the more I hear. Last year I discovered a cave in Greece on the Peloponnese, which formed around 200 Million years ago. I returned and crawled back inside together with my violin. The sound of time and of water inside the body of earth was one of the most beautiful listening experiences of my life. And when I played the violin, playing and listening became one. This is something listening to nature taught me. I hear nature but nature hears me too. The world is listening. Listening means tuning into a correlative web.”
Ayumi is wearing Skin dress.
For Ayumi, music is powerful because “together with food and touch, it is a form of communication that goes directly into the body. It has the ability to cross the barrier of pre-conditioned feelings and thoughts and instead connects to what one truly feels, is able to heal, transmit joy, sooth pain, carry on memories and stories from ancient times into the future. Music reminds us that we are not alone. I cannot imagine a time when music was not important for humanity.”
“Nothing has ever been down to only ourselves. Life is entangled and based on interdependency. Separation is a story invented to exploit others, nature and even oneself, the own body. Yet, our cells are like a library. They remember when we were all water, they remember when the first unicellular being crawled out from the oceans. The more memories I am able to access, the more light shines upon the path I chose to walk in the future. Like a spider web or the mycelium network that slowly begins to gleam in the dark.
To trust to let things develop organically can be a frightening process. It is not goal-oriented. But getting lost, feeling discomfort, and having patience in the dark, are only a few sensations, which I love to explore because I actually enjoy daring not knowing what the outcome is going to be.”
For Ayumi, “Art is ultimately a playground so it is rather safe to, for example, drop the limitations of binary thinking and to face our memories without judging, from the perspective of a bird, a dance movement, a smile, a song line, an eternal grandmother. Everything is possible and in this freedom, maybe one finds redemption too.”
In her performances, such as Concert in 4 Parts or We Are We, costume plays an integral part of her creative process:
“I love ceremony and a ceremonial way of living in the sense that I enjoy when as many aspects as possible are celebrated as an honouring to being alive. It makes me happy when every stitch in my performances is imbued with a breath of my life. Today it would probably make me even uncomfortable to use clothes in my works which were made by people I don't know, touched and wrapped and shipped around the world. We Are We is a very special project where I create dresses using small fabrics from many different women, patch work them together into one large dress and compose music throughout the process. The women share the story that is connected to their fabric with me and the work comes alive through our collective memories, carried on my skin.
I was born in a female body and my body carries the memory of all women who have ever lived before me. Naturally this has an effect on my work. Especially because I do not draw a line between myself and my work. I am my work.”
Ayumi says silence is necessary in order to recalibrate ourselves. “We live in a noisy world. What falls into place with clarity when there is silence is miraculous. Being able to sit in silence means to be able to give up control. Every silence sounds different because it holds the sounds of each moment. And each moment is unique. True silence though, the silence where it is absolutely still, I realized, quite recently, I only find within myself. At the centre of my heart.”
Ayumi is wearing Skin dress.
“The word courage origins to the Latin word Cor, which means heart. To me all is beautiful that comes from the heart, from the inside. Nature doesn't know how not to be courageous, how not to be just what it is. Eventually we all carry that seed within us.”
Below Ayumi is wearing Clara dress.