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Towards a Response-able Com-position Practice:

Entangling with Humans, More-than-humans & Materials

This exposition is an accompaniment to the artistic research process tied to my Ph.D. dissertation, titled "Towards a Response-able Com-position Practice: Entangling with Humans, More-than-humans and Materials" (see reference). The exposition provides a condensed and compact format of information allowing the viewer/listener to trace the process, mainly led by graphics, sound files, along with short informational and contextual texts.


The research began with my curiosity to attend “otherness”, looking into the interface of connection during social sound engagements with the other from the composer’s point of view. I look into the relational interface through a series of epistemological postures, informed by strands of feminist, new-materialist, and non-anthropocentric perspectives. My incentive is to explore and offer relations that are experienced through social, embodied, and entangled sound practices through investigation of multicentered and generative acts. And so, with the model, I offer a practice that reads 1) every act as relational, 2) every relation as happening with an active embodied agent, and 3) propose a series of acts explored through web of social connections, highlighting relational-ontological positions.

In the composition model, relationality focuses on perspectives of response-ability in the act of com-posing with human, material and more-than-human agents. I call this model Response-able Com-position (RC), as the aim of the practice is to generate and cultivate various abilities to respond, and trace these responses within the act of com-position.

Instead of placing the performer/composer's agency at the center of the composition process, the model widens and shifts the center to other humans, non-humans and materials, where they are no longer the object of study but the generators of information itself. By privileging such position, the whole proposal revolves around resonances and potentialities consist of listening-within entangled relations. Listening as performative auralities entail: listening through aural analysis, tactile and motion-based listening (performance), and listening-back to the process and re-evaluating.


Fulya Uçanok, 2022

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The Process of the Practice



Temporal Semiotic Units




Two Guiding Tools for Listening & Performing

I use two companion tools that function to direct my listening, performing and evaluation process. They provide a coherent process for different stages of my practice, enabling a ground for forms of repeated investigation. They are flexible in regard to aural interpretation and highlight bodies, behaviors producing situated practices throughout the process. These tools are motion-trajectory models Temporal Semiotic Units and two response models called Similarity and Difference Responses.



Similarity & Difference




On the right, you can find the two com-positions made with the Response-able Com-position (RC) practice: Quest(ion)s and S-wallow-ING. In Quest(ion)s, I sound together with a human agent (Sumru Ağıryürüyen) and in S-wallow-ING, with two more-than-human agents (two swallow birds).

The examples are presented on top of each other, and the processes of the two
com-positions are aligned in order to provide a comparative listening and viewing.

Use headphones or loudspeakers in order to reproduce all audio details.


Go to sections:

Aural Analysis Sketches

Acousmatic Agents Solo Video Analysis

Similarity Responses: With Acousmatic Agents

Difference Responses: With Acousmatic Agents

Similarity & Difference Responses: Without Acousmatic Agents



Two Com-positions:

Entangling with Human & Swallows

Sumru Ağıryürüyen, Voice
Fulya Uçanok,
Piano & objects



Com-posing with

A Swallow Duo

Two swallows, Voice
Fulya Uçanok,
Piano, objects & electronics



Com-posing with

Sumru Ağıryürüyen

In working with voice, the first person that came to my mind immediately was Sumru Ağıryürüyen. Sumru is a vocalist, and a mandolinist whose practice encompasses a variety of styles; ranging from folk to popular music, from free improvisation to contemporary, experimental and avant-garde. She is one of the pioneer singers of free improvisation scene in Turkey. She is a member of So Duo, Konjo, Sert Sessizler and was a member of the group Mozaik, and appeared on albums of Yeni Türkü, Ezginin Günlüğü, Sezen Aksu among many others, either by singing or playing the mandolin. She teaches ensemble workshops and classes based on practices of Deep Listening. https://sumruagiryuruyen.com/

Working with Sumru was something I always wished for. I asked her to sing free improvisations within a sound-based approach, and what could be called a contemporary style of improvisation. I provided her with the energy/motion companions, called the Temporal Semiotic Units, and asked that they function as companions for her improvisations. She has kindly accepted my invitation and immediately sent me recordings of her acousmatic presence, where she inhales and exhales five short improvisations. I chose to work with the one that spoke to me most, number three.

Accompanying Words for Improvisation


As I went for a three day visit to Balıkesir, Edincik/Turkey at May 2021, I was woken up by a single swallow at around 4:00 AM chattering a solo. Soon after another joined in; they began a duet, reacting and responding to one another. I was able to get up and without scaring them off, record their chatter. 

As the swallows were singing their importance, and their relations with others, they heard me opening the window about two meters away from them, and saw me seeing them, yet did not fly away. Although, they stopped singing for a while, shortly after, they continued. I cannot not think that hearing and seeing me have affected the way they sound and behave. From that angle, can I say that their sounding was partly including a response to me? Or does this type of thinking fall into the obvious trap of a series of anthropocentric thinking? Moving past these questions, and coining the self as a witness (that was affected and may or not have had an affect), I consider that all three of us, less than three-meter proximity; we did something, and we did it with the awareness with each other.


Quest(ion)s: Sumru Ağıryürüyen’s Improvisation

S-wallow-ING: Witnessing Two Swallows

Quest(ion)s: Aural Analysis Sketch

S-wallow-ING: Aural Analysis Sketch

View the general analysis image.

View the general analysis image.

S-wallow-ING: Solo Swallows

Quest(ion)s: Solo Voice

 Quest(ion)s: Voice with Similarity Response

View similarity response detailed analysis image

View similarity response detailed analysis image

S-wallow-ING: Swallows with Similarity Response

Quest(ion)s: Voice with Difference Response

S-wallow-ING: Swallows with Difference Response

View difference response detailed analysis image

View difference response detailed analysis image

Quest(ion)s: Solo Similarity Response

S-wallow-ING: Solo Similarity Response

S-wallow-ING: Solo Difference Response

Quest(ion)s: Solo Difference Response

This exposition is a part of my Ph.D. dissertation

Uçanok, Fulya. (2022) Towards a Response-able Com-position Practice:
Entangling with Humans, More-than-humans and Materials

(Doctoral Dissertation) Istanbul Technical University,
Insitute of Higer Education, Istanbul.