As a nominee in the category Future Traditions in Music, mentored by Du Yun, Jonathan Reus proposes a multidisciplinary project that points at the cultural networks that musical instruments embody.
His work for Forecast looks at the American banjo family, beginning with the oldest existing banjo of the Americas, the Surinamese “creole bania.” This becomes a starting point for seeking out a living network of musicians, instrument-makers, and tradition-bearers.
In an interactive software experience, Reus will gather traces of these exchanges as music, text, and objects in the physical world digitized remotely. The experience will express a layered and flexible concept of heritage that validates the role of online encounters, while also recognizing their fragmentation and acknowledging the need for interpersonal exchange in building respect for the cultural histories we are entangled in, both by circumstance and by choice.
At the digital Forecast Forum, Reus will share a video that combines the online experience of the software and a collage of music sessions with his various teachers around the world.
Here, he talks about the unexpected pathways that have opened up through his research on the histories of the banjo: