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NOVAK, YANN - Slowly Dismantling


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"With Slowly Dismantling, Los Angeles based artist Yann Novak problematizes understandings of ambience as homogenous and static. Slowly Dismantling deconstructs ambient, pulling it way from the blank and the atmospheric, refusing the perceived luxury of sound within which context is erased. Reflecting on his formative experiences as a queer youth in middle America, he explores the idea of these acoustic and social spaces as zones of liberation within which a spectrum of identity is formed. From Yann Novak: "The cover of Slowly Dismantling features the remnants of Hotel Washington, home to the LGBTQ+ community in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin from the '70s until 1996 when it burned down . . . I was 17 when the hotel burned down and had only gone to the cafe a handful of times. What I expected to be the formative site for exploring my newfound queer identity was suddenly lost to the past, and I was left wondering how such a space would have influenced me. What remained in Madison after the fire was only the mainstream version of gay culture . . . Art and music are often identified as 'queer' when they share these same core aesthetics, tropes, and character stereotypes . . . This led me to withdraw; the alienation that came with my introversion made it hard for me to take up space in the world. As my work as an artist and composer progressed, this lack of self confidence became part of my practice. I began using field recordings as a way for me to limit my decision making. I could shape and mold this source material to an extent, but there was always an external structure. While this allowed me to create work that was autobiographical, I was never totally in control of what I was making; thus, I was never fully visible in the work. This all changed following a transformative experience at a queer music gathering in the spring of 2019. I was finally immersed in a queer community that existed outside all dominant cultures, finally allowing me to feel seen as queer without any of the shortcomings the mainstream culture would have me believe . . . As I worked through Slowly Dismantling, it became a liberation from and a reinterpretation of myself. It allowed me to shed my insecurities and routines: grounding my work and process in something outside myself. Instead I choose to utilize digital and analog synthesis, recorded at my studio in Los Angeles and reprocessing recordings captured at MESS in Melbourne and EMS in Stockholm."" - Room40 .
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