Sowers of discord

Nov 13, 2020, 04:45 PM

Sowers of discord created by Odette Johnson (Museleon).

"In keeping with the theme of Divine Retribution that runs throughout Dante’s Inferno, the sinners in the ninth chasm, the Sowers of Discord, are brutally split and mutilated, just as they split and mutilated aspects of religion, politics, or their fellow citizens. They poison the world with their words and create havoc, division and chaos as a result.

"How appropriate for the times we are living in.

"For this piece I began by reading several articles on some of the major issues that face our  planet at this time - climate change, the pandemic, radicalism, Trumpism, poverty, racism and mapped out common themes such as denying science and facts, denying culpability, undermining and diminishing others, spreading mistruths and destabilising democratic institutions and processes. Certain terms and practices are common and phrases such as ‘It’s not real’ ‘It’s not our fault’ ‘It’s not urgent’ are often repeated like mantras. The spreading of repeated denials, mistruths and conspiracy theories often result in division, conflict, riots, demonstrations and violence. I also looked up the definitions and synonyms of the word discord, which included musical terms, and since this is a pandemic and I am in semi lockdown, I recorded myself reading them.

"These recordings of phrases and words are the basis of my piece and represent the methods used by the sowers of discord such as, whispering, louder voices drowning out weaker ones, repetition, overspeak, distortion, circular repetitive phrases, constant messages, reiteration and disorientating the listener. Radio waves, static and feedback add to the noise, with some voices sounding distorted as if the dial isn’t quite on the radio station but certain messages are still getting through. The underlying  doom laden drone uses notes from a discordant chord.

"Overall, the aim was to create a cacophony of words that represent how the sowers of discord use amongst other things social media, media, rallies etc to get their message through with the aim to create division, hatred and violence, in order to get their way."

Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit