I believe we are amalgams of the worlds around us both through the affect of people and non human influence. My practice takes sound as a component of this vibrancy, a signifier of the life of material, and a physical entity which we are entangled with. My recent research centres around phenomenologies of sound, and striving to understand how different sound worlds contribute to who, and what we are. How difference in sonic perception shapes us, and our understanding of the world.
Sonic sculpture “Sheet” investigates the connection and interaction between a metalworker and their materials, exploring how they listen and collaborate with metal, and how entangled their lives become. The recorded interviews with metalworkers combine with the tonalities of an arched, suspended steel sheet to create a sonic amalgam of human and metal. The viewer is invited to enter this space and consider the affect of the metal that surrounds them, experiencing and sharing in its resonance.
Over the last few years, I have developed tinnitus; a constant tone piercing through my hearing. The tonality of metal has become something I associate closely with this tone; an echo, or ghost of metal, constantly running through my perception. This experience has prompted me to investigate how the life of metal intertwines with the world, and the lives of other matter around it. What agency it has, and how its presence both physically and sonically creates new posthuman spaces.
"I lay in bed. Listening to the city below me. The night traffic outside my window, faint voices on the road. It had been a long day and I was thankful to lay my head on a pillow. I close my eyes and try to drift into sleep, focussing on the sounds inside myself and letting the outside world fade away. I think about the sound of my breath, slowly in and out. The saliva in my mouth and throat, swirling and gurgling as I swallow. The faint beat of my pulse. The sounds of me. The sounds of my body. They belonged to me. I thought of their rhythm and constancy, how they had been with me for my whole life, providing an ever-present underscoring to my movement through the world – constant reminders of my humanness. The physicality of my fleshy self, presenting in sonic form. Blocks which built my personal sonic identity.
An internal performance of humanness. Though, recently this performance had changed. A new part had been added to the arrangement."
An extract from my dissertation piece, "Cyborg Listening: On Identity".
Photo: Jon Payne