komPASS | The sound of “International Internal Catastrophes” or encounter with Novi_sad in Novi Sad 

Novi_sad is from Greece, not from Serbia. Novi_sad is the artist’s name of Thanasis Kaproulias, an experimental audio-visual artist based in the ancient Greek town of Olympia. A couple of weeks ago, he performed his project “IIC-International Internal Catastrophes” (a collaboration with Isaac Niemand) in the northern Serbian town of Novi Sad where I had the chance to meet the artist in person.

That evening I met Novi_sad in Novi Sad. I realized this a bit late, only when he handed me one of his CDs on the project „IIC – International Internal Catastrophes that I just experienced live at SKC Fabrika (in the frame of “Milky Way“ exhibition of the Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina). The CD-Cover is titled “Novi_sad” and I’m wondering, how come that this artist, originating from the ancient Greek town of Olympia, would choose such a name as alias. “I visited this city with my parents when I was a child”, he explained to me. While he was speaking about Novi Sad, I witnessed his eyes shining and I’m sure, there must be something he truly loves about this place. “But also”, he added, “I like the sound of the name ‘Novi Sad’”, and obviously, it refers to the meaning sad in the English language: “Novi_sad also means the ‘new sad’ – it fits my sound in a way”. 

I told Thanasis that I was from Tyrol, close to Innsbruck – and, of course, he had heard about this place as for „this festival Heart of Noise“, well known among the international experimental music scene. “I’ve already performed all over the world, but I never had the chance to perform in Austria, it must be a beautiful country, with beautiful landscapes, I would really love to have a live show there”. 

„IIC“ at SKC Fabrika | photo: Jovana Semiz

And indeed, thirty minutes ago, when I was sitting in the audience of his live performance, I had this feeling as if I was at home, watching a performance at the Heart of Noise Festival – one of those special ones that make you forget time and space. While my eyes were stuck to slow-motion visuals of impressive Icelandic landscapes, my body was embedded in a loud sound carpet carrying me even further away. The images of stunning landscapes, waterfalls, rocks, and ocean waves, were moving so slightly that, at some point, they forced me to look inside and observe my everchanging emotions alternating between sad and happy, between melancholic, grateful, and nostalgic – a meditative process, interrupted by moments of awakening, awakening through silence and sudden words appearing in front of landscapes: “We are all prisoners in our own dreams”. “How true”, I thought. “And it is true”, Thanasis told me, when I asked him later if this quote was written by himself. I mentioned to him how his performance evoked memories of past events of my life, obviously, one of them being my visit to Iceland. “There you have weather conditions that you cannot find anywhere else in the world”, Thanasis replied, and I confirmed this statement, telling him about my experience with Icelandic snowstorms in February when incredible strong winds wouldn’t allow me to breathe normally. “And in April it was raining horizontally in my face”, he added. 

Nature plays the main role in his projects. In “IIC – International Internal Catastrophes” Thanasis presents his sound composition of environmental field recordings that he collected during his stay in Iceland. The audio is accompanied by visual material, filmed by his collaborator Isaac Niemand. 

„IIC“ at SKC Fabrika | photo: Jovana Semiz

The day after, I met Thanasis again. It was already noon; he held a masterclass in the office of the cultural organization kuda.org for the students of the Academy of Fine Arts Novi Sad. When I entered the space, I sensed an extraordinary atmosphere. I hardly ever experienced a group of students listening that attentively to a lecture. But when I heard the existential topics Thanasis approached through his projects, it appeared clear to me. Despite the fact he had not planned to speak about this kind of things with the students at all. He referred to one of his favorite philosophers E. M. Cioran whose book” Tears and Saints” inspired him, speaking about the human ability of being aware of one’s own mortality, about the importance of forgiveness in relationships and importance of forgiveness towards oneself – “It happens to all of us in life that something takes away our smile for a period of time”. And I was sad for being late and having missed almost the whole presentation of which he sent me the PowerPoint-file per e-mail later.

excerpt of his PowerPoint – presentation

Soon after this conversation Novi_sad left for Belgrade. As he planned on visiting a basketball game between the Serbian national teams – Partizan vs. Red Star – before he would return to Greece the following day. “It really doesn’t matter who wins”, Thanasis answered my question on which side he was “I go there because I enjoy the atmosphere”. He seemed very excited about this happening which surely was one of the highlights of his short trip to Serbia.

“So maybe we will meet one day at Heart of Noise Festival in Innsbruck”, we agreed when we said goodbye. Thanasis left for the train station and on me he left a lasting impression of a character that made once again obvious to me that life can be perceived in ways that are different from the “normal” one dictated by society. 

| Brigitte Egger

*The fragments „Noble Vandals“ and „Saptarishi Mandalam“ are written by Novi_sad and taken from his website.


KURZBIO

Novi_sad

is the guise for Thanasis Kaproulias (b. 1980) who holds a degree from the Economic University of Piraues. He lives and works in Ancient Olympia, Greece. Influenced by the pioneers of audio assault, he began generating sounds in 2005. Amplified environmental recordings, drone manipulations, structured ambient soundscapes, microtones vs overtones, all come together in a hyper structure of iconoclastic form. Novi_sad’s artistic output displays a high level of technical ability, as well as a sensitivity to the nuances of location. 

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