Stadiums & Shrines
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Dreams of Yugoslavia


Balkan decoys, elaborate and beautiful, affix, shielding a forgotten mist, a village; an archaeologist arches her architectural theory, squinting down at the photograph believed to be the only of its kind. The people, stoic and oversized, walk above rather than within… they must reside behind rather than inside, she figures. Water falls from the margin. But how — she scribbles into her fading field note book — how can it, with the homes so close. Perhaps they needn’t worry over being swept at all; nearly weightless, though real, floating, she determines, this paper town on a cliff.

Into focus: a frayed corner, peeling to another image beneath the first.

The archaeologist gently brushes off the original exposure, which, suddenly of its own accord, takes flight. Awestruck, she follows the winged photograph out the door, across a modest yard, beyond her wildest hallucinations, to the paper town, at water’s edge.

Snap, a camera echoes in the distance. A photograph ruffles its feathers.


Raised on the Orcas Island off the coast of Washington state, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is a modular synthesist who has composed sound for musicals, films, the hidden worlds of national parks, and in this project, an imagined world within a static image. In 2017, she released The Kid on Western Vinyl, and earlier this year announced her new label Touchtheplants. The inaugural offering, “Abstractions,” is based on the works of filmmaker Harry Everett Smith, and comes accompanied by “a comic about two friends — a plant and a human being — having an existential conversation.”

Smith recently joined us at Moogfest to discuss “the value of dreaming in the present, interdisciplinary collaboration across mediums, engaging the surreal, and escaping into the ambient beyond.”

Head to Noisey for the history of Dreams (out soon on Cascine) in a thoughtful feature by Colin Joyce, who said this one “feels like looking at a cloudy summer sky through a kaleidoscope.”

Tagged with →