Tina Stefanou calls for mass humming event

Playful and deep, Tina Stefanou, reveals the multiple levels of her sonic event, and how artists are social collaborators

Greek Australian artist, Tina Stefanou, is in the Art Festival Cementa 2022, that runs from May 19 to May 22, in the post-industrial town of Kandos, in New South Wales.

Forty artists are inviting the local community and visitors from across the region to come together and celebrate contemporary art and culture.

The Cementa festival promotion writes, “After the fires, after the floods, after the pandemic, after all the hardship and uncertainty, after all the cancellations, delays, and postponements, the festival comes.”

The Melbourne-based artist who was awarded the Schenberg Art Felllowship as the “most noteworthy” emerging artists in Australia in 2020, will attempt to create the largest humming event in a regional location, which will be happening on the morning of election day on May 21.

Given fires, flood and two years of a pandemic. Neos Kosmos asked if the event was symbolic of something.

“It is happening on election day in the morning. So instead of lining to vote, you’ll be lining to hum. And, yes, where your vote goes, matters in this election more than most , after what we’ve had over the past few years.

“I’m certainly advocating for a shift, but I don’t impose that on the hummers, they can resonate at any frequency and difference, and multiplicity is encouraged!” Stefanou said to Neos Kosmos.

The hum according to the artist is “a resonating rebel that crosses to out of bounds palaces and infinitely rings out into the cosmos.”

” It works with radio waves, (hum)ans, animal companions and place. For 10 minutes the hum of Kandos marks history.”

Stefanou invites all the to the community and visitors to take part.

“When COVID hit, it changed a lot of things.”

Stefanou details how the idea was conceived and how she thought that the hum would be an accessible event for the community, “an inclusive sonic event”.

“It is simple. A kind of musically democratic action. Most people who can vocalise, hum. They hum unconsciously, in the shower, they hum along to a tune, so I thought, it wouldn’t be so much of a dramatic ask to get people to hum.

“Because it just seems like it’s a vocal phenomenon that’s part of the world. The world hum.

So that was like my wave. And also, because singing during COVID was quite a dangerous thing to do, it was banned. So, I find that really interesting. The hum is like singing out loud with a mask, because your mouth is closed. So there’s some interesting playful aspects to it.”

The Melbourne-based artist who won the most noteworthy award for emerging artists in Australia in 2020, (the Schenberg Art Felllowship), will attempt to create the largest humming event in a regional location. Photo: Supplied

Stefanou says that she’s not sure how many will participate, “It could end up being five people, or it could end up being 500 people.”

“That’s the exciting, playful kind of element of the term. It’s only humming for 10 minutes, really. But I suppose the long part is what happens to people and spaces after the hum. The hum ripples infinitely. So that’s what makes it the longest hum, not necessarily how long the event itself will last.”

She points to the fact that ‘hum’, make up the first three letters of the word ‘human’.

“I’ve been thinking about, how do we re-capitulate our relationship with what it is to be human and in relation to crises, or planetary demise. The hum is like, this kind of, other than human element that exists already within the human. So, I’m interested in that kind of thinking as well when it comes to it.”

Stefanou says it probably has happened “a million times that people have got together and hummed.”

“For me, that is a good thing, because I don’t think artists reinvent the wheel, we are social collaborators in a giant field of lots of possibilities.”

Everyone is welcome to join this event which will take place at 9.30am on 21 May, outside the radio station (KRR 98.7) on Angus Avenue in Kandos.

If you are unable to attend in person you can tune into the radio station or online and hum along!

For more information about the Art Festival Cementa 2022 on www.cementa.com.au or about the humming event, you can RSVP Tina Stefanou via ms.tinastefanou@gmail.com