Synchronic Looping:explore how delays and echoes expand the temporal space of reading, the texture of the textorium.



Example 1) Three readers, in the Courtyard of the Convento dei SS. Cosma e Damiano, Wednesday 8 May 2019. A 4.31 minute extract.


The voice, the lips


It is thought crude to move the lips when reading. We were taught to read by being made to read out loud then we had to unlearn what we were told was a bad habit, no doubt because it smacks overmuch of application and of effort. Which doesn’t stop the cricoarytenoid and cricothyroid, the tensor and the constrictor, muscles of the vocal cords and the glottis being activated when we read. Reading remains inseparable from this labial mimeticism and its vocal activity – there are texts that should only be murmured or whispered, others that we ought to be able to shout or beat time to.


Georges Perec, “Reading: A Socio-Physiological Outline”, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, ed. and trans. by John Sturrock,(London: Penguin Books, 2008), pp. 174-175.



Synchronic Looping was tested by Emma Cocker, Cordula Daus and Lena Séraphin in the interior spaces and courtyard of the former Convento dei SS. Cosma e Damiano on 10 May 2019, following by a period of reflective conversation that we recorded and subsequently transcribed. Extracts from the conversation are included in the wider exposition.

Example 2) The written looping of the sound recording. A 4.34 minute extract.


This is a shared reading practice for three readers. Decide on a text that you wish to read together. The text for this practice should be quite short – more than a couple of lines but no longer than a paragraph. You will each need a copy of this text. Decide on a point in the text to start. One person begins reading out loud from this selected starting point. After a line or so, the other two readers begin reading together out loud from the chosen starting point. Their shared reading will be like an echo, reverberation or a delay of the first reader’s spoken text. As you reach the end of the text, continue again from the start. After some time, the first reader’s energy might begin to slow – another reader will need to take over leading the reading.


You could think of it akin to how runners sometimes train together in a group or pack – one runner might run ahead to set the pace, the other runners follow a few paces behind. In time, the front-runner’s pace might begin to stall or slow. Gradually they will drop back to become part of the group, and another runner will need to step forward to take the lead.


Attend to the difference between leading (reading in advance of the other readers) and following (reading after or behind). Attend to those points where your role begins to shift – from leading to following, from following to leading. Attend to the gap or lag between the leading reading voice and the reading voices that follow, the texture of the text that opens up through these simultaneous yet diverging readings. 




How is it to attend to multiple points in the text synchronously – the co-existence of different points [of time] in the text within a singular shared present? What kind of temporal zone is opened up through such an act? How does it feel spatially – what kind of dimensionality arises through the interplay of multiple voices?

How is the quality of the textorium produced through such a practice, how does it change? What kinds of virtual spaces emerge through the synchronic loop of reading?