For Félicia Atkinson, human voices inhabit an ecology alongside and within many other things that don’t speak, in the conventional sense: landscapes, images, books, memories, ideas. The French electro-acoustic composer and visual artist makes music that animates these other possible voices in conversation with her own, collaging field recording, MIDI instrumentation, and snippets of essayistic language in both French and English. Her own voice, always shifting to make space, might whisper from the corner or assume another character’s tone. Atkinson uses composing as a way to process imaginative and creative life, frequently engaging with the work of visual artists, filmmakers, and novelists. Her layered compositions tell stories that alternately stretch and fold time and place, stories in which she is the narrator but not the protagonist.
Atkinson lives on the wild coast of Normandy and has played music since the early 2000s. She has released many records and a novel on Shelter Press, the label and publisher she co-runs with Bartolomé Sanson. She has collaborated with musicians including Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Chris Watson, Christina Vantzou, and Stephen O’Malley, and with ensembles including Eklekto (Geneva) and Neon (Oslo). She has performed at venues and festivals including INA GRM/Maison de la Radio and the Philharmonie (Paris), Issue Project Room (NYC), the Barbican Center (London), Le Guess Who (Utrecht), Atonal (Berlin), Henie Onstad (Oslo), Unsound (Krakow), and Skanu Mesz (Riga). Her work has been commissioned by filmmakers (Ben Rivers, Chivas de Vinck) and fashion houses (Prada, Burberry). She has exhibited in museums, galleries, and biennials including RIBOCA Biennale (Riga), Overgaden (Copenhagen), BOZAR (Brussels), Espace Paul Ricard (Paris), and MUCA ROMA (Mexico City).
Known for his work in nêhiyawak – the moccasingaze trio whose debut album nipiy is currently nominated on the 2020 Polaris Music Prize Shortlist – Cardinal’s first solo full-length is an audio journal that explores "captured moments of experimentation and expression" in eleven entries: “asterisms drawing attention to where I was musically, mentally and emotionally at very brief passages of my life.” Each piece contemplates emotional textures with an often gentle, dreamy, and melodic palette – constellations of synthesizers dancing around atmospheric themes and rhythmic punctuations. Bedroom ambient music created with analogue synthesizers, a small modular system, samplers, electric piano, and processed voice, each sonic entry came out naturally in improvisational waves, recorded often in single takes or single days. Calling to mind the gradual melodies of Brian Eno, and the weightless flights of Fennesz, Cardinal creates a glacial, airy sonic universe that is personal yet evocative, fleeting yet impressive: a catalyst and companion to reading, studying, working, walking, dancing, hand holding, sleeping, and skygazing.
Raven Chacon is a composer, performer and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. As a solo artist, Chacon has exhibited, performed, or had works performed at LACMA, The Renaissance Society, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, REDCAT, Vancouver Art Gallery, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Borealis Festival, SITE Santa Fe, Chaco Canyon, Ende Tymes Festival, and The Kennedy Center. As a member of Postcommodity from 2009-2018, he co-created artworks presented at the Whitney Biennial, documenta 14, Carnegie International 57, as well as the 2-mile long land art installation Repellent Fence.
A recording artist over the span of 22 years, Chacon has appeared on more than eighty releases on various national and international labels. In 2022, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition Voiceless Mass. His 2020 Manifest Destiny opera Sweet Land, co-composed with Du Yun, received critical acclaim from The LA Times, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, and was named 2021 Opera of the Year by the Music Critics Association of North America.
crys cole is a Canadian sound artist based in Berlin Germany who works in composition, performance and sound installation. With a keen interest in focused listening, she generates subtle and imperfect sounds through haptic gestures and seemingly mundane materials to create texturally nuanced works that shift sensory perspectives and continuously retune the ear.
cole has performed extensively worldwide at venues and events such as Ina-GRM (Paris), Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre, Super Deluxe (Tokyo), Issue Project Room (NY), Café Oto (London), Tectonics Festival (AU+US), Vancouver New Music Festival, Akademie der Kunste (Berlin), The Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis), All Ears (Oslo), Onassis Center (Athens), Mona Foma (Tasmania) and many more. She has ongoing duos with Oren Ambarchi (AU) and James Rushford (AU) (as the duo Ora Clementi). She has also worked with Francis Plagne (AU), Leif Elggren (SW), Tetuzi Akiyama (JP), Seiji Morimoto (DE), David Rosenboom (US), Annea Lockwood (US/NZ), Keith Rowe (UK), Lance Austin Olsen (CA), Jamie Drouin (CA), Mathieu Ruhlmann (CA), David Behrman (US), Tim Olive (JP/CA) and many more. Her recordings have been published by Black Truffle (DE/AU), Penultimate Press (DE), Students of Decay (US), Ultra Eczema (BE), Boomkat (UK), Second Editions (DE), Bocian (PL), caduc (CA), Another Timbre (UK), Infrequency Editions (UK) and Regional Bears (UK).
Her work has been exhibited in galleries and events in Moscow, Prague, Berlin, Dortmund, Aarhus, Landskrona, London, Bangkok and across Canada. From 2008 – 2019 crys cole was the Director of the annual experimental music and sound art event Send + Receive: a festival of sound in Winnipeg Canada. She has been involved in curating, radio presentation, lecturing and more for over 25 years.
Isabella Forciniti is a Vienna based sound artist from Italy. Her work maneuvers within tensions evoked by the substantial aspects of sound and improvised music. Her intention is to explore deliberate states of sounds through examining relationships among interwoven sound surroundings, informal practice as well as their intrinsic abilities. Her work thrives to release streams of thoughts at the margins of the unknown.
She has created works for Austria’s radio station Ö1, such as for the art program Kunstradio and Radiokolleg. Isabella Forciniti has also gained experience with movies during her work with Kubelka’s „Arnulf Rainer“ film strips and scoring gender-critical silent movies from the early 20th century. She participated in workshops by Elliott Sharp, Tomomi Adachi, Antye Greie-Ripatti and Cedrik Fermont, among others. Isabella Forciniti cooperated with Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl, Ingrid Schmoliner, Katharina Klement, Patrick K.H., Joni Void, Ryoko Akama as well as other artists. Forciniti was invited to different music festivals such as Wien Modern (AT), Time in Music (FI), Sonic Territories (AT), Klangfestival (AT), Literaturfestival-Schlierbach (AT) and Darmstädter Ferienkurse (GER).
She holds a degree in communication sciences focused on sociology and multimedia. In 2019 she finished the university program Computer Music and Electronic Media (ELAK) at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Currently she studies computer music and composition at the Anton Bruckner Private University focussing on digital music performance and improvised music. Her favorite sociologist is Zygmunt Bauman and her favorite meal remains her grandmother’s homemade pasta.
David Grubbs is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. At Brooklyn College he also teaches in the MFA programs in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) and Creative Writing. He is the author of Good night the pleasure was ours, The Voice in the Headphones, Now that the audience is assembled, and Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording (all published by Duke University Press) as well as the collaborative artists’ books Simultaneous Soloists (with Anthony McCall, Pioneer Works Press) and Projectile (with Reto Geiser and John Sparagana, Drag City).
Grubbs has released fourteen solo albums and appeared on more than 200 releases. He is known for his ongoing cross-disciplinary collaborations with poet Susan Howe and visual artists Anthony McCall and Angela Bulloch, and his work has been presented at, among other venues, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, the Tate Modern, and the Centre Pompidou. Grubbs was a member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and has performed with Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari, Will Oldham, Loren Connors, the Red Krayola, Royal Trux, and many others. He is a grant recipient from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a contributing editor in music for BOMB Magazine, a member of the advisory board of the journal Sound American, a member of the board of directors of Blank Forms, and director of the Blue Chopsticks record label.
Timothy Herzog is a drummer and multi-instrumentalist with internationally acclaimed group, godspeed you! black emperor, who have multiple releases on Montréal’s revered Constellation Records and toured internationally including performances at All Tomorrow’s Parties (Iceland), Edinburgh International Festival, Festival Aural (Mexico), Melbourne Recital Centre, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In addition to gy!be, Herzog has performed and recorded with Wrekmeister Harmonies (Thrill Jockey Records), Milemarker, and numerous other groups. In 2017 he was invited to play a an improvised set with My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields as part of the Sigur Rós curated festival, Norður og Niður. Herzog has also worked extensively in live sound reinforcement for 15 years with beloved rock group, Dinosaur Jr/J Mascis (solo) and with PJ Harvey, My Bloody Valentine, and A Silver Mt. Zion among many others. Herzog also owns and operates Herzog Electronic, where he does technical consultation on electronics and audio systems as well as designing and fabricating custom analog audio devices.
Through sounds, writings, and intermedia performance, Sasha J. Langford investigates intersections between bodies, history, and psychic life. As a composer and musician, Sasha has written sound scores for the work of choreographers, media artists, and filmmakers such as Be Heintzman Hope, Emily Pelstring, Sunny Nestler, and Mardon + Mitsuhashi, and has done solo performances at festivals such as the International Noise Conference in Miami, FL; the Ende Tymes Festival of Noise and Experimental Liberation in Brooklyn, NY; and the Lines of Flight Festival of Experimental Music in Dunedin, New Zealand.
As a writer and thinker, Sasha has published critical texts and delivered public talks through Access Gallery, About A Bicycle, Charcuterie, The School of Making Thinking, and the Vancouver Institute for Social Research. In 2020, she was a Commissioned Artist with the Festival of Recorded Movement, and was Artist in Residence at What Lab in Vancouver. In 2021, her writing was included in the collection Lacan and the Environment (Eds. Burnham & Kingsbury, Palgrave Macmillan). In 2022, she released the full-length album Desire, or a Common Place under her shoegaze/experimental pop moniker Sigh Down One.
Sasha's current research explores Ashkenazi liturgical traditions, specifically considering intersections between new music and new cantorial composition. She teaches media and communication studies at Columbia College, on occupied xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ territories known as Vancouver, BC.
Mani Mazinani (b.1984, Tehran) is a Toronto-based artist making installation, video, film, sculpture, photographs, multiples, sound and music. His practice evolved from an early interest in sound recording, now working with the process of translating thoughts into recordings. His visual work thinks about scale and perception, often combining subject matter and medium. Mazinani is currently researching origins of ancient thought, perceptual limitations of humans, and improvisation. Recent exhibitions/performances include Tate Modern (2019), The Bentway, Toronto (2018), Tehran International Electronic Music Festival (2017), SIP Culture Centre, Suzhou (2016), Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (2015), CAB Art Centre, Brussels (2013).
Christof Migone is an artist, teacher, curator, and writer. His writings have been published in Aural Cultures, S:ON, Experimental Sound & Radio, Musicworks, Radio Rethink, Semiotext(e), Angelaki, Esse, Inter, Performance Research, The Oxford Handbook of Sound Art, Sound Art (ZKM/MIT), etc. He co-edited the anthologies Writing Aloud: The Sonics of Language (Errant Bodies Press, 2001) and Volumes (Blackwood Gallery, 2015). He obtained an MFA from NSCAD in 1996 and a PhD from the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University in 2007. He has released numerous solo and collaborative audio publications on various labels.
He has curated, exhibited, and performed internationally. In 2006, the Galerie de l’UQAM in Montréal presented Trou, a mid-career survey of his work accompanied by a catalog. A book compiling his writings on sound art, Sonic Somatic: Performances of the Unsound Body was published in 2012. He was the Director/Curator of the Blackwood Gallery between 2008 and 2013. He is currently curating a 12-year event titled You And I Are Water Earth Fire Air Of Life And Death. Founding member of Avatar in Québec City. Co-Publisher of Squint Press with Alexandre St-Onge. Recipient with Marla Hlady of the 2019 Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence Prize. He lives in Toronto and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at Western University in London, Ontario.
Marc A. Reinhardt (b.1984) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher working at the intersection of sound, text, performance and installation. His practice develops conceptual strategies that investigate issues of transduction, historicity and collective agency. He is interested in how we inhabit the contradictions, in language and beyond, that emerge from these investigations.
He is also part of the collective ACTION INDIRECTE and continues to collaborate in multiple music projects such as Lanterner (with Steve Bates), Hyena Hive (with Bruno Julian) and Black Seas Ensemble. He works and lives between Gatineau and Montreal.
respectfulchild is an interdisciplinary artist born, raised, and living as an uninvited guest on Treaty 6 Territory. Their work explores the quiet tensions and chaotic beauty of being a queer Chinese-Malaysian settler on the prairies, ranging from spontaneous improvisation to meticulous composition. Their debut album 在找::searching:: was released in the summer of 2017 on Coax Records and they have toured across Canada and Europe with artists such as Rae Spoon, A Tribe Called Red, and Jeremy Dutcher.
Anju Singh is a composer, musician, sound artist, media artist and producer ocated on the stolen, unceded, and traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, colonially known as Vancouver, BC in Canada. Anju works with traditional instruments, electronics, found sounds, and self-made custom built instruments. Her practice is an exploration into the texture of sound with a focus on putting a microscope on timbre and micro-sounds or unwanted sounds, such as the brush of a bow against a string. She explores these sounds through the use of amplification, processing, and composition as well as by juxtaposing these sounds against traditional and aesthetic "musical" sounds to create new works. Anju has presented her work across Canada, across Europe, in Mexico, and in Brazil. Anju's work has been shown at festivals such Send + Receive Festival, Signal and Noise, and Vancouver Jazz Festival. Anju performs as part of several music and experimental projects and bands including her solo experimental violin project, The Nausea.
Aho Ssan is the artist name of Paris-based Niamké Désiré. After studying graphic designing cinema, he began to compose electronic music and create his own digital instruments. Shortly thereafter he went on to win the Foundation France television prize for his soundtrack to the film of Ingha Mago in 2015 and has worked on several projects related to IRCAM/ GRM in France. His debut LP «Simulacrum» was released on the 7th of February 2020 via Subtext Recordings. Based on the concept of Jean Baudrillard, it navigates through society’s presentation of inclusivity and equality against my own experience of growing up black in France.
Aho Ssan debuted “Simulacrum” at Berlin Atonal 2019. Subsequently his work has been presented in various institutions across Europe and the United States such as the Lincoln Center (New York), La Maison de la Radio (Paris), CTM (Berlin), MACBA (Barcelona), Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam) and Krakow Philharmonic (Krakow).
In 2022 he released a collaborative album “Limen” with the artist KMRU and is also part of the SHAPE+ artist platform. Or- ganized each year by a union of 16 festivals and arts centers - including the CTM festival in Berlin and the Unsound festival in Krakow.
His music has been acclaimed by various media such as NPR, Pitchfork, Resident Advisor, Liberation and Les Inrockup- tibles. Aho Ssan will release his next solo album “Rhizomes” on Nicolas Jaar’s Other People label.
Mark Templeton is a Canadian sound artist and photographer. Since 2007 his sound recordings have been released by labels such as Anticipate, Senufo Editions, Staalplaat, SUPERPANG and his own audiovisual label, Graphical, which he established in 2015. In the spring of 2018, he released his first photobook, Distorted Tourist, which included a series of five one-sided flexi records. In 2021, his new photobook and cassette, Ocean Front Property, was co-published by The Ice Plant and Graphical.
Templeton has performed live and exhibited his work at Belfast Photo Festival, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Unsound Festival, Mutek Festival, Send+Receive Festival, Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival, WNDX Festival and other festivals, art galleries and alternative spaces in Europe, the UK and North America. His work has been featured in Le Monde Magazine, GUP Magazine and American Suburb X. In June of 2019, Mark completed an MFA in Photography through Ulster University in Belfast, NI.
A Sound That Never Was is a new digital instrument that generates a score writ from software code modulated by weather data and seismic activity. The score parses the library’s sound files authored by a chorus of artists, played out in arrangements determined by the vibrancy of the world in a particular place at the moment of their selection. The precise arrangements, understood as relationality between the world, the machines of production, transmission, reception, locality, and the artists' original gestures - perform a sound that never was before and never will assemble exactly thus again.
This website is a simulation of ASTNW’s sonic structure, rendered in stereo and altered in compression as this performance space requires. The specificities of each space, both in their invisible architectures of power relations and latent socialities as well as the materiality of soils, minerals, liquids, and the intertwined ecologies of non-human entities, lay bare the effects these have had on the potential to receive the vibrancy of the world. Yet, it is not only reception that is formed in these relations– these points of connection have altered the vibrations themselves.
This project began as an encounter with the book Voice of Hearing, written by Vivian Darroch-Lozowski, first published in 1984 by Sono Nis Press. The sensorial slippage of its title and how the reader is brought into being in the hearing-reading of its text suggested the form for this project. Each of the artists engaged, whether musician, sound artist, author, or curator, act both in response and alongside. To quote extemporaneously from Daniela Cascella’s responsive and generative text:
“I could only grasp Voice of Hearing by the form of my response to it.
… It calls for duration and persistence, for recognizing a passion shared, a sympathy, and in turn, words are not conferred by a theoretical motion, but are the forms of such sympathy: they can only be heard in the shape and cadence of our being as we make them and make them heard in the encounter with an other."
After finding an original copy of Voice of Hearing in a used bookstore in London, Ontario, Christof Migone (also one of the artists here) approached Vivian Darroch-Lozowski to re-publish the book on his Squint Press imprint with the desire to engage a new public. This new public, recently attuned to Vivian’s way of writing about sound and beyond, would be more open to her unique text as it more closely resembles contemporary writing unfettered by the ocularcentrism of modernity. Vivian’s allegorical and personal approach is now a more verdant, communal, and recognized form. From Christof Migone’s care-filled and critical introduction and in our feeling of connection to Vivian’s text, we invited writer/theorist, Daniela Cascella, to respond to the project in her own way. Cascella’s deep investment has offered a profound response to Vivian’s text and a generative point of entry to the encounter.
In our own way, we, The Dim Coast, were also drawn to Vivian’s thinking-writing (and person!) We wanted to gesture back towards her as the work makes clear its desire for engagement. Using Voice of Hearing as a primary point of connection, we invited 14 sound artists to read Vivian’s book and respond with sound. They have produced a library of utterances, offerings, structures, and localities. This shared sonic library without directly identified authors, becomes the viscous notes of an instrument designed by Alexandre Burton (artificiel) where data from a project-specific weather station and seismic sensor play back these sounds in a generative process. This instrument performs as an ecology linking analogue and digital media into an organic and ever-changing whole.
Along with the sound, each artist contributed metadata. While the sounds are ever-present, their audition and composition are made possible via coded, roaming apertures associated with atmospheric conditions.
The invitation to the artists was to contribute something; a sound, a gesture, in relation. But also, to leave something out. To leave something out so that no offering was itself an enclosure but to allow other sounds to come into its authorial space. In this way, the artists create apertures within their own works, space for these overlapping, conversational sounds sometimes in consonance and sometimes in dissonance, not seeking homogenous connection or tunings but radical openness to what might become. This generosity makes clear that it is most often external conditions that allow for perceptions of harmony to occur.
Textures, timbres, tones, rhythms, faint-almost-unheard melodies. Accidental and relational harmonics, overtones, spaces, silences.
The pluri-vocality of the project, the design of the instrument, the webpage, and the installations to come, are all influenced by the key idea of Vivian’s text; that there is a ‘voice of hearing’. A voice of hearing is the resonant manifestation of relationship within an interconnected, complex, atmospheric, layered world whose correspondences and influences are both known and unknown. It is also one that considers feeling and sensing as forms of knowledge, not confirmations of, nor methodologies toward, rationality.
Conscious to not endlessly re-build a ‘random’ audio player, care was taken to ensure the weather and seismic data is interpreted in robust and dynamic ways through the form of overlapping apertures that constantly scan the audio files. The code/score will refigure in response to local atmospheres for each exhibition as the sensors retrieving the meteorological and seismic data are transported to each new site. In this way local and site-specific conditions create the version of the instrument in dialogue, making each physical installation unique. Speaker arrays installed specific to their site of exhibition, and the distinction of these built environments will allow A Sound That Never Was to come into being. Each time its performative voice will be in concert and in connection with the conditions affording the vibrancy of its space and time.
I Want To Break Into the Leaping Sea
At times while reading, words come to meet you with unexpected charge, they tear the most immediate layer in the order of things to manifest other arrangements, beyond material evidence. They bring the certainty that you always knew them, but to really know them, that is, to recognize them and their resonance as an integral part of your being in the world, you had to hear them pronounced by someone else, and at that moment when reading becomes listening-attention to the voice of another, you hear yourself too. It is not about reading: not about reading, exclusively. It is of what is carried and transformed in reading-as-hearing-being, inside and beyond words. The scholar of Sufism, Henry Corbin, named such a reciprocal form of knowing—exceeding yet bound to the limits of self and directed to what is already there but can only be found through attention and attunement to specific sympathies—creative prayer. The historian of Russian Icons, Pavel Florenskij, called it the perception of a spiritual homeland, of which we hear in the words of others who have been there, and which we recognize as ours-not-all-ours*. After reading Voice of Hearing, I call it voice of hearing.
This is not going to be a commentary of Vivian’s book. It will be a manifestation of how, in reading it, I find myself in a perceptual and emotional site which does not tolerate descriptions or explanations, and where chronologies are scrambled. Hear, in this site, words become heartbeats: present, out of time, keeping their time. I cannot simply say I read Vivian. I perceive heartbeats in her-not-all-hers prose, and in response, my writing here is not made to argue for anything, but to offer hearing instances, a thought-cadence, another.
No quotation marks will appear. To over-quote from Voice of Hearing is too easy a temptation, which may likely slide into an attempt to literally rewrite the entire book—in my copy, every page is marked, nearly every sentence underlined, arrowed, asterisked. But I am no Menard, and I am not drawn toward identification but reverberance: I want to sound how the words in Voice of Hearing become entangled with mine and beyond words. In the impossibility of summarising them, I hear an invitation to sing with them: out of sync, out of tune, nonetheless to be there, here, and sing. This is what the words of Vivian said to me, how I heard them, how they resound in me. This is how with them I sing.
Some time ago I wrote: In Vivian’s book I am at Eleusis. I am in deep time. I am at the end of times. It was the first step out of a paralysis in trying to write after Voice of Hearing, before I fully understood that writing had to be with, not after the book; had to be experienced and made as an imaginal form of singing with it, utmost encounter—sometimes consonance, sometimes interference, sometimes out of tune yet in time, sometimes out of synch yet reverberant—of a voice with another voice, distant and near. Not by chance did such a decisive step summon the limits of time and Eleusis—the historical site of rituals in ancient Greece, known to transform people into nobody other than themselves. These were accompanied by a considerable euphoria and an equal load of discomfort, inevitable in any significant aesthetic encounter. Vivian’s book prompted the attraction and abandon that made me leap into the breaking sea of hearing-in-reading, the profound and crucial displacement in hearing myself in the words of another.
With time, I have come to understand the unbridled excitement, pervasive restlessness, piercing unease that arose in me on reading Vivian’s book; the deep feeling that the book had found me out; the initial rush followed by weeks and weeks of speechlessness and self-sabotage, followed at last by words (yet I maintain that writing had already begun, despite words, in that rush, unease, and speechlessness) as stages of a momentous encounter unveiling symbols, rhythms, tones which will continue to shape and be heard in my-not-all-mine words. I have understood such mixture of discomfort and euphoria as an important intimation that certain texts (by text I mean the mark of certain cadences often made in ourselves by a substance that exceeds words, and cannot be perceived without them) as they are written do not take form as an outpouring of inner states, but as reverberations of other frequencies. It is our task to recognize these as resonant and to transmit them as they become inevitably transformed in us: self-not-all-self, them-not-all-them. This condition causes unease and restlessness, as it brings about a decisive shift away from the habitual demands made on writing by the institutions and contexts in which we often operate, for it to be original, individual, self-generating, and so on. To begin to write removed from such demands, calls instead for a disposition to listening to the voices of others, and to hear one’s voice with those of others: writing is a voice of hearing. This answers any writer’s block and its ego-driven preoccupations, with a gesture of opening that is at once breath-taking and slightly frightening: writing does not demand to write, but to encounter and hear words as they are arranged. It is frightening and I do not mean to evoke fear: I mean frightening as in the threshold at Eleusis, marking the necessary transitions that cannot be avoided, to become to be ourselves entangled. It calls for duration and persistence, for recognizing a passion shared, a sympathy, and in turn, words are not conferred by a theoretical motion, but are the forms of such sympathy: they can only be heard in the shape and cadence of our being as we make them and make them heard in the encounter with another.
I could only grasp Voice of Hearing by the form of my response to it.
Applying the inversion of mood and scale typical of nonlinear mythical thinking, spinning and circling, a counterpart of lightness emerges in these depths, integral in the experience: puns, word games, sounding twists and turns, in which Voice of Hearing indulges frequently. In phonetic slips, homophonic arrangements and derangements, the surface of language peels off, crumbles, and with it any claims for a definite truth held by words: other substances are at work, allowing these words to be read as heard—anagram, with the added H of a breath. It could not be otherwise: words are read as they are heard, that H exceeds and troubles them with its invisible but present rhythm. Such a dismissal of word-as-stable-evidence, such lively formlessness as they are arranged and re-arranged in clusters and new formations emerged from burning cores rather than forced in frames, is a word and world of welcome to all of us attempting to write otherwise. It says yes, you can. Write. You can, also, be silent when needed. You can write in any form necessary, including absence, to your voice of hearing. An invitation to presence. In the lack of frame or structure I had to find a heartbeat, to hear a voice sing in Voice of Hearing. Sometime, with the piercing force and rapture proper of the mystics, it sings I want to break into the leaping sea. Sometime e-e-e-e-e.
*Expressions such as ours-not-all-ours, hers-not-all-hers, and so on, are indebted to Elfriede Jelinek’s Her Not All Her (on/with Robert Walser) (Er nicht als er, zu/mit Robert Walser, translated by Damion Searls, London: The Cahiers Series / Sylph Editions, 2012), a text entangled with the words of Walser to the point where it is no longer clear where his words end and hers begin, and it probably no longer matters as they are revealed as reciprocally formed in a sympathy beyond words.
Daniela Cascella is an Italian-British writer, working with forms and transformations of critical writing that inhabit, echo, and are haunted by their subjects: literature, voices, concealments of the self. Writing in English as a second language, writing as a stranger in a language, she is drawn toward unstable and uncomfortable forms of writing-as-sounding, and toward the transmissions and interferences of knowledge across cultures.
Her books articulate tensions and points of contact between the literary and the sonic, through experiments with form, voice, and ways of reading: Chimeras. A Deranged Essay, An Imaginary Conversation, A Transcelation (Sublunary Editions, 2022), Nothing As We Need It (Punctum Books / Risking Education, 2022), Singed. Muted Voice-Transmissions, After The Fire (Equus Press, 2017), F.M.R.L. Footnotes, Mirages, Refrains and Leftovers of Writing Sound (Zer0 Books, 2015), En Abîme: Listening, Reading, Writing. An Archival Fiction (Zer0 Books, 2012).
A project by: The Dim Coast
(Steve Bates & jake moore)
Instrument design and conceptualization:
Score: Weather and Seismic Conditions
Website: Joni Schinkel
Original Text: Daniela Cascella
Content Management System: 0/1 Hub Numérique
Render and Stream Infrastructure: artificiel.org
For exhibition inquiries or other information, please contact Steve Bates: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Sound That Never Was began in response to Voice of Hearing by Vivian Darroch-Lozowski.
Voice of Hearing has been re-published by Squint Press and is available here.