Ayumi Paul

Portrait Ayumi Paul, Photo: Debora Mittelstaedt

Artist and composer Ayumi Paul answers our questionnaire: on dragon-serpents, hummingbirds and an archive of all water on earth

What are you working on at the moment?
I am preparing a publication and workshops for ›The Singing Project‹, an ongoing singing sculpture and collective practice happening at Gropius Bau. A few months ago I started ›Song for Water‹, a project that will become an archive of all water on earth, a primordial sea captured on paper. People send or bring me small amounts of water and in return I sing a song for the water. Recently, an artist brought me water from a river in Ukraine that flows through her father’s home village; someone else collected tears; I was brought water from Hawaii, where people have been singing to it for centuries; and someone else sent me water from a glacier in Switzerland that ceased to exist soon afterwards.

What are you reading or listening to right now?
I asked nine other artists to write down seemingly out-of-context thoughts and dreams over a period of six weeks and then arranged our texts in chronological order. I always enjoy reading them because they follow a logic that I am only now starting to understand.

What would you do if you didn’t make art?
Perhaps I would be an undertaker.

Do you have a favourite building?
My favourite building is my consciousness. It is infinite, constantly changing and forever at play.

What animal would you like to be?
There are many animals I would like to be. I would love to be a hummingbird, for example, because I heard the flapping of its wings when I was born.

Who would you like to meet?
I would love to meet the dragon-serpent that guarded the Oracle of Delphi—that is, before she was killed by Apollo. There are so many versions of that story, I would like to hear her side of it.

Do you have a daily ritual?
I practise the violin almost every morning. It’s my way of tuning in.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve had to admit to yourself?
That I thought softness was my weakness.

What accessory or object could you not be without?
My notebook and my fountain pen, because I don’t like to lose track of my thoughts.

What do you do when the work is done?
I eat hamburgers and sweet potato fries and drink a beer.

Sommerfest Something in the Air
17 SEP, 4—midnight
Ayumi Paul, Earth Rhythms: 4—5pm