The ceiling in the church depicts a journey from paradise to hell. Painted during the Middle Ages. Above my head the heat becomes more and more intense. Arms are stretching out in despair. Naked bodies. Angels fighting for saving the souls who are in most danger. Men and women are crying. Languishing in pain. Fearful for their destiny. Is there hope? What will it be to burn? What will happen in hell?
The seventeenth century score tells a similar story. About suffering. About pain. About struggling and fighting with a power that wants to destroy. About God wanting to ruin his own people. How can one trust in a God who kills and destroys?
The performance context is about death. About remaining (in) the shadow of dying and killing. About living. About coping in life. Finding ways. Surviving. About ornamenting life itself. In order to survive. To live/die.
"Her gates have sunk into the ground; he has ruined and broken her bars; her king and princes are among the nations; the law is no more, and her prophets find no vision from the LORD."
"The elders of the daughter of Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have thrown dust on their heads and put on sackcloth; the young women of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground."
I leave the struggle of description aside and dive deep into contradictions for real. I will continue to speak as I write and sing as well. I will translate my inside, knowing that the form which is about to appear on the screen will be the result of an intense spacetimemattering experience.
The sensory experience calls for further investigations into the intra-active struggles of wording. I feel the heat melting on my back. My arms reach out from the fires of hell. Calling for help and prayers. The process of performative wording becomes equal to the on-going struggle in hell. Is their hope? Will there ever be a return to that which once seemed a normal life. Singing burns along with my words. A lamentation for losts souls. For the lost spirituality. For the hearts that beat for beauty.
Helas! If voicing is an experience in itself, there is hope. Turn back. Return to trust and to living. Breath and sound allow for rhythm to heal. For returning to peace. Return as a whole. Re-turn from death and suffering. Re-turn to voice. Re-turn for the meaning-making of life. All memories are neatly covered up and hidden in the shadows.
Voice has returned to itself. Having experienced hell and paradise through a struggle of wording.
When I enter a research laboratory setting it is not only for the reason of figuring out a score and its sounding structures. It is about intra-active encounters. About non/in/human practices and matter encountering in a specific spacetime. I observe these intra-acting parts as a non-divided phenomena.
Struggling with words and expression. Won't let them tell the story without lived participation. Stories turn into other story. New stories. Words have to be formed inside the experiencing phenomenal bodymind. Words have to be internalized, reconfigured, and turned in-side-out-up-side-down as part of athephsycho-physical movement. Intra-acted and measured as part of the system. A system that always belongs to other ways of thinking. The fluidity has to be heard in the speaking lines. Words belonging to larger contexts. Words and sentences can't be distanced from slides and vocal sounds.The vocal phenomena performed in the laboratory enacts an ontological inseparability, meaning no single note stands alone, but always emerges through an intra-active encounter between the vocal appartus, the body/mind constituency of the singer, the walls, the physical space and objects within the laborartory, and of course the various movements occuring continuously. The laboratory can only be performed and never described. When decribed, again the impossible struggle takes over.
"My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out to the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because infants and babies faint in the streets of the city."
"The LORD determined to lay in ruins the wall of the daughter of Zion; he stretched out the measuring line; he did not restrain his hand from destroying; he caused rampart and wall to lament; they languished together."
"When the description of technique refuses to limit itself to an established vocabulary of technical terms and instead uses poetic language to evoke more subtle or esoteric aspects of embodied practice, it may become a kind of 'performative writing'." (Spatz 2017:22)
"Sensory inter-involvement, disciplinary processes, detailed modes of surveillence, media infiltration, congealed attractors, affective dispositions, self-regulation in response to future susceptibility - these elements participate in the perceptual circuit of exchange, feedback, and reentry, with each loop folding another variation and degree into its predecessor. The imbrications are so close that it is impossible to sort out each element from the other once they have merged into a larger complex. The circuits fold, bend, and bend into each other, inflecting the shape of poitical experience. Even as they are ubiquitous, however there are numerous points of dissonance, variation, hesitation, disturbance in them. These interuptions provide potential triggers to the pursuit of other spiritual possibilities, where the term spirit means a refined state of the body in an individual and those existential dispositions that are embedded in institutional practices." (Connolly 2010:190-191)
"When we want to describe the various kinds of things we do as human beings with human bodies, it can be useful to distinguish between practice and technique. For our purpose here, practice will refer to the actual concrete examples drawn from human life and activity. A practice is always located in a specific time and place and enacted by particular individuals and groups. [...] Practice is a fundamental concept of embodied research, but it is not repeatable. Each moment of practice is unique." (Spatz 2017:7)
Intra-active methodology allows us to not describe the various kinds of things we do as human beings with human bodies. Instead intra-action means a developement of performative entanglements based on agential cuts.
"Observer and observed are nothing more than two physical systems intra-acting in the marking of the 'effect' by the 'cause'; no human observers are required (though 'humans' may emerge as being part of practices). And objectivity is not defined in reference to a human observer: it is not merely about what humans can do to facilitate unambiguous communication about laboratory results. Rather, objectivity is matter of accountability to marks on bodies. Objectivity is based not on an inherent ontological separability, a relation of absolute exteriority, [...] but on an intra-actively enacted agential separability, a relation of exteriority within phenomena. The reproducibility and unambiguous communication of laboratory results are possible becaused the agential cut enacts determinate boundaries, properties, and meanings, as well as a causal structure in the marking of 'measuring agencies' ('effect') by the 'measured object' ('cause') within the phenomena. Accountability to marks on bodies requires an accounting of the apparatus that enact determinate structures, boundaries, propoperties, and meanings. Crucially, the objective referent of measured values is phenomena, not (some abstract notion of) objects (which do have an independent existence. Objectivity, then is about being accountable and responsible to what is real." (Barad 2007:340)
The vocal laboratory makes possible for intra-active systems "to enact determinate structures, boundaries, propoperties,and meanings."
There is never a complete exteriority and there is always a call for "being accountable and responsible" as intra-active participants.
This entangled exposition performs an agential-cut-model of vocal laboratory results - a process of meaning-making between different intra-active thinking/singing systems. (And this is now translated into a description).