Wednesday, August 3, 2022


By Tanmay Chawla


Good morning Prishtina!


I think Einstein was a bit off with his theory of general relativity. Besides mass and energy, abrupt delight can also bend space and time, I think. We went in to understand a place that was supposed to be haunted by the specter of conflicts past. But going to Kosovo acted as an abrupt stop in the flow of life for the people of Peace Lab. No doubt, the subject matter of our academic gaze was intense and exhausting. Though experientially, we all found a certain type of bliss. In the company of each other, time played tricks on us. By the second night it seemed like we all had known each other for years.


Maybe what we felt was just a bio-social reaction to the shift in our physical environment. Throw a group of barely acquainted people into a radically different environment, their overflowing oxytocin will do the job of enhancing feelings of belonging. Maybe it was because we were away from our usual atomized existence in a late-stage capitalist society. But maybe everyone in the Peace Lab was just nice. And we embodied some vague and idealized notion of home for each other, absent of any internal friction.


For our project I wanted to record sounds, Tal wanted to capture pictures of events and people, and Matt and Finn wanted to interview people in some depth. So we decided to make a collage of pictures, quotes from interviews, and soundscapes. In a very unprofessional manner, I carried around my microphone anywhere and everywhere during our trip. From the sounds of wind and cicadas at the ruins of an ancient Roman town outside of Gracanica, to hour-long conversations with random people on the street who loved Hitler, I thought I recorded everything.


As I said, I am very unprofessional. Generally in life, and as a soundscaper specifically. Hence, I never organized any of the 100+ audio files on my recorder during the trip. When I finally started combing through the files for the project, I realized I had mostly recorded the voices of people in Peace Lab. People who felt like home. Some of it was planned and conscious of course, but I was convinced that I recorded the sounds of “Kosovo” equally as much as the people of Peace Lab, if not more. In reality, I think 90% of any meaningful audio I have is rife with the voices of these beautiful people. And I am grateful for it. They were home for me, if only in a peculiar and bended space-time.


A link to the final version of our project.

It’s desperately missing soundscapes, since our project is called Voices of Kosovo, and not Voices of Peace Lab. Hope you like it.

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