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01 DH Culture MIMI

Conscious Future

Exploring Soundscapes with MIMI


Words Vidula KotianDate 30 April 2024

Maria Muehombo, aka the artist known as MIMI, is a sonic storyteller, who crafts vivid soundscapes. Mixing the ambient noise of our surroundings with hyper-pop and classical music, she delves into the anthropocene, exploring the boundaries between the humanmade and the natural world.

Drawing from her Buddhist practice and connection to nature, MIMI has created an Earth month playlist for us. Infused with tension and release, it embodies surrender and acceptance, offering solace amid eco-anxiety and solastalgia, the distress caused by environmental change in familiar landscapes. “As we navigate these complexities,” she shares, “this music serves as a remedy, grounding us in the present moment and fostering a deep appreciation for the beauty of impermanence.” We chatted with the on-the-go artist about her sonic journey, her remedy for solastalgia, and the profound beauty of yielding to nature’s rhythms.

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MIMI collects sounds from the surrounding

Reconnecting with nature

What sparked your passion for sonic storytelling?

My passion arose out of necessity. From a young age, I struggled to articulate my innermost thoughts and emotions through conventional means. Turning to artistic expression, including sonic storytelling, became instinctual. I found that sound could convey nuances and depths of experience that words alone could not reach, transcending the limitations of spoken language.

What music do you listen to when getting ready?

My go-to music when getting ready varies based on the occasion. In the mornings, I often listen to mantras to set a positive tone for the day. When preparing to go out late at night for a show or social event, I use mantras as a way to ground myself and get into the right mindset. Afterwards, I incorporate some uplifting electronic or experimental music to energize and uplift my spirits before heading out.

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At Fiber Festival in Amsterdam

“I found that sound could convey nuances and depths of experience that words alone could not reach, transcending the limitations of spoken language.”

What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt on your anthropocene journey?

That the work begins within. I believe in the importance of self-regulation before taking any action. Every decision made on a daily basis requires a certain level of self-awareness. By focusing on self-regulation and self-awareness, I’ve discovered that true progress and impact start from within, shaping how I engage with the world around me during this transformative era. Additionally, I’ve come to realize that working on a small, personal scale can have a significant impact on larger systems and environments. I often reflect on the correlations between events and how individual actions can ripple out to create broader effects in our interconnected world.

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Bare feet in her biotope installation

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Your Earth Day playlist is an antidote to solastalgia. What is your biggest fear?

Solastalgia, the distress caused by environmental change in familiar landscapes, is a feeling many of us can relate to as we witness the impacts of climate change and habitat loss firsthand. Through my playlist, I aim to evoke a sense of connection to nature and hope to combat the unsettling feelings associated with solastalgia.

My biggest fear in the face of environmental change is the negative impact it has on our species. Environmental degradation leads to reduced biodiversity, disrupted ecosystems, and increases threats to human health and well-being. Loss of habitats and natural resources can directly affect our ability to thrive and survive as a species. Climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction pose significant risks to our food security, water supply, and overall quality of life. Additionally, the consequences of environmental crises extend beyond ecological impacts. Genocides, war, and conflicts have been linked to resource scarcity and competition, which are exacerbated by climate change and environmental degradation. It is all intertwined—and this is definitely not new information. We are witnessing it from afar or close every single day.

Exploring petrofilia, the love of rocks

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What is the one thing you’d encourage everyone to try?

I would encourage everyone to try starting the work inwardly. Take a moment each day to slow down, take a breath, and close your eyes for at least 3 minutes. I believe it can have a profound impact on well-being. This simple practice of mindfulness allows you to connect with yourself, reduce stress, and cultivate a sense of inner calm amid life’s busyness. By prioritizing this daily pause, you may discover a deeper awareness and appreciation for the present moment, fostering a healthier and more balanced approach to life.

Importantly, integrating mindfulness into your routine can enhance day-to-day decision-making, as it encourages clarity of thought and a greater alignment with your values and intentions. For those who can, I would also recommend going for walks in the forest or to your neighboring countryside. It can also induce a sense of harmony and grounding.

Images courtesy Marieke Bosma, Maria Muehombo, Rein De Wilde, BIZENGABIZ, Pieter Kers, and Angelina Nikolayeva

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