Back to the portal
A scenography created with sound is a sonic scenography. As sound reveals its qualities in space and over time sonic scenographies are always related to the space that they are produced in. The sonic scenographies in this artistic research project are created site-sensitively. They are performed by instrumentalists (including singers) together with the space. The sonic scenography is not the frame for a performance but is the narrative itself. Sonic scenography is developed through spatial sound composition and performed as a spatial sound performance. The performing sonic scenography creates shapeshifting physical forms in the space that can be experienced from within.
My artistic research project works with sound, it embraces the abstract, it stimulates the unknown, it invites the unfamiliar and holds space for the uncontrollable while it collaborates with that which escapes clear definitions – and still, the tools to get closer to it, to understanding it better, to learning deeper, are words.
I chose these terms as they are essential to research. Many of these terms are in italics when they are deployed in the texts themselves, both to gently emphasise them but also to acknowledge that they are sometimes subtly different 'senses' of how the terms might usually be used. In the context of my research new relations provide new understandings of these terms. With this dictionary I attempt to share this meaning-expansion that emerged in my practical artistic research.
In my work I have experienced both correspondence as co-participation (intra-action where the agency evolves through the meeting with the other) and interaction which I experience as an acting together with, in relation. Interaction holds things apart, individualizes them, but in my work the acknowledgement of the distance allows for the possibility to act with, develop together and through each other, and for relations between the entities to occur and change. It is a joining of two or several entities in an action, a back and forth. Interaction includes a stretching towards each other in my understanding. But each entity has its core, some parts are fixed, while many parts can change and are in constant change. Interaction is an attention that is an attraction, a readiness to get involved, a readiness to be transformed by the other. The with is of importance in this form of interaction, more than the and.
When performer and audience share a space the possibility for community building arises. This is common for many live performance forms. As spatial sound performance gives special attention to shared space and shared experience, while the practice of space-care is passed from the performers to the audience, a social space is created. One may also consider that what derives in a performance that is attentive to all interactions and involves audience as participators is a not-not-community.
spatial sound performance
In a site-sensitive creative process a spatial sound composition is created. The sounds that are used in this composition are developed in dialogue between the instrumentalist and the space. They are spatial sonic expressions. These expressions are placed and moved in a space over time. The resulting spatial sound performance is shared with an audience and expanded in relation to them.
is the placing of a sound in a space with intention, but also with an acknowledgement of the limited control one has over its development once it is activated. It is possible to know what kind of seeds one is planting, and to decide where the seed is planted. This allows for an idea of the development of the seeded sound and maybe even how it might expand and grow. But the exact way in which it will grow and interact with its surrounding is unknown and out of control. This is why the gesture of ‘seeding’, the verb, the initiating action, is of importance: so that the seed may carry some of the intention in its later expression. In the tradition of musical terminology, ‘seeding’ might become the Italian seminando.
is the action of reaching both inside of oneself and into our surrounding through multimodal listening. By combining physical engagement with the surrounding and an active listening inward and outward, we employ a permeable full-body listening. It is a listening that has the intention to expand, and it reaches deeply even if it goes outwards. Listening into is a practice of exploring the familiar and unfamiliar through full-body listening.
Listening into is also a book, a listening experience created for you and your surroundings.
Listening is a conscious act, different from hearing which is the registration of sounds. The ability to hear does not always result in listening. When we un-listen, we consciously decide to no longer listen to something that is calling for our attention. In order to return to a relation with our surrounding and/or our past and/or our selves, we need to un-un-listen, to actively counteract the decision to no longer listen. In Demmin – letting a city sound, the practice of un-un-listening explored how we can heal through a communal un-un-listening that finds its expression in sounding with the past/buildings/our environment, and with other people.
Buber, M., 2008. I and Thou. Continuum, London.
Glissant, É., Wing, B., 1997. Poetics of relation. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.
Löw, M., 2008. The Constitution of Space. Eur. J. Soc. Theory - EUR J SOC THEORY 11, 25–49. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368431007085286
Landing is the creation of imagined realities. It is an imaginative practice that is defined by a certain context. Different from ‘worlding’, in landing one can see the topography of the surrounding landscape and the shape of paths in proximity. This creation is meant to be shared so that the imagined lands can be experienced together. In spatial sound performance landing is also an arrival in the site. The sonic scenography lands with the site as the sonic expressions become native to this environment.
My understanding of relation is informed by 'relational theories' where the significance of the properties of a phenomenon is relative to other phenomena. Relational spacetime theory tells us that ‘space’ only exists because objects create it between each other. Similarly, social scientist Martina Löw describes how space is created through interaction (Löw, 2008).
We are always in relation. The question is how we pay attention to this entanglement. Relations are not fixed, they transform. The way we relate varies, the way entities position themselves to us changes. We reach and receive, we effect and get affected.
Glissant talks about the relational poet being able to practice ‘errance’, to perceive and work across relational fields (as opposed to the oppressive, colonial insistence on borders and unrelatedness). Following this idea, my work aims to encourage errance on the part of the audience. They can err (wander) between the different elements of the work.
Further, Glissant affirms the multiplicity and diversity of being in relation. The relation is an in-between that exists in the expansion of each entity. For him “in Relation every subject is an object and every object a subject” (Glissant and Wing, 1997, p.xx). This is closely related to Martin Buber who describes relation as reciprocity “...for it affects me, as I affect it.”(Buber, 2008, p.16). In my work the relation forms an in-between that can be experienced as an ever-changing sonic scenography. Inside the relation, between the agents, within a context is where the sonic structures I work with take form.
is an approach to site where our relation to spaces is investigated through all senses. It sets itself apart from site-specific in the way one relates to a site during the creation. Site-sensitive works are created on site and in dialogue with the site. All senses are engaged when working with spaces. The way in which a work is created is informed by the site. The resulting work in turn illuminates the site according to the way it reveals itself during the creative process.
is a practice. When we collaborate in a space with attention to the space, we create an awareness of the relationship(s) that we enter. It is a reciprocal relationship in which the space enables sonic expression, movement, presence and interaction. The space reacts to our presence and confirms it. This attention that space gives to our presence can be actively returned by space-care. It is an awareness for the space and can expand into responsibility for the space and the relationships that are formed within it. This care is therefore also an attention towards other entities that we share the space with because it is facilitated by the space we share.
When we give attention to the space in a creative process the space tinges our expressions. As a space embraces all elements inside of it, so do the performers with their presence and their sounds.
the Body of Sound
is a phenomenon that I have encountered in my practice and that I work with when creating spatial sound performances. Sound bodies are complex entities made up of different sonic qualities. Even though it is made up of particulars, it is a unity. Sound bodies are structures that change over time and in interaction. Performers can use this understanding of sound in the creation of bodies of sounds as sonic expressions, and they can collaborate with these shapeshifting bodies (as one can hear in my practice with Spaces as Voice Teachers). The ephemeral presence of sound bodies requires intent listening.
The book The Body of Sound contemplates this phenomenon.
is an instrument and instruments have voice. My interest lies in the possibility of these voices to find spatial expression in collaboration with the spaces. In the investigation of how to create more spatial presence in the sonic expressions of the instruments, one also finds new sonic expressions. The flexibility of the voice of the different instruments is strived for and revealed as the spaces help elicit unknown potentials. See also Spaces as Voice Teachers.
is an action and a noun. Mattering is the becoming of matter. This happens when intention and attention materialize between the creator and the perceiver. An appearance is acknowledged as matter when it matters. It thereby makes its significance apparent. Mattering is an actualization of some-thing, without it becoming fixed. It is where and how it matters that is of importance.