Space sounding: explore the reverberation of different spaces and surfaces, reading experienced through a felt encounter with the world.


Space Sounding 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 9 May 2019, following by a period of reflective conversation that we recorded and subsequently transcribed. Extracts from the conversation are included in this section. 

Conversation after the exercise, an (edited) transcript:



The space is a room with a view


Standing close to the wall created a space of intimacy, because I felt the reverberation of the wall, and being next to the window and the outdoor scenery enabled me to see far.


The rehearsal has a spatial enquiry


Yesterday we were discussing what kinds of movements and gestures enable concentration. But today it feels much more about, maybe because there are less things in the space, it becomes much more about how I can reverberate and test something in a space and see if it has an effect or not.


Where are the places and the spaces of the room which feel most conducive to concentration?


There was almost something like a psycho-geographical connotation. I could feel into different places, different corners. "This is the entrance and people will see me", when I was there I was distracted. As soon as I was aware of that, I felt, I have to change place.





The body is a space


When reading there is so much energy in the head. In the mouth. Speaking out loud. Like yesterday when you were describing crouching. Squatting. There was this thing of getting low. Something about the body taking in the text. When squatting I felt really at ease. I was leaning against a wall and there was a sense of casuality in this. Not performing, it gave me this non-performative feeling. I am just here, I am not performing.


I love the part when Perec is talking about posturology. You know, all the different postures, standing up, sitting down, lying down, kneeling, squatting, walking… Then, me and him, we are really on the same page. I am trying this out. It says standing and I am of course standing. I am tempted to do whatever the text proposes, to try out all reading postures.   


Imitation is a tool


I copied you when you used the wall. I wanted to do this also and try it out. It allowed me to focus on being in the space.

Text as a place to inhabit


There was a nice bit in the middle where you were reading and I recognised the part which I was approaching, too, so you were ahead of me in the text. I then continued to read something that you had not long since read, as we were walking past each another, and there was something about the way. Perec talks about this is the text. Those spaces where people are reading the same text. That sense of communion, or solidarity, or not even that but being able to tune into something that someone is doing privately, but to know where they are in that private experience … this felt quite strong.


Say it again


Somehow knowing where you were in the text, even though the reading that you were doing was quite private. There was a  small glimpse of something that enabled me to access where you were in that experience. Ordinarily, this would remain very invisible and out of my experience.


It makes me think that when we read a text we are creating distances and spaces or something like that, a device for measuring. Because when listening to you I could measure, how far I am from you in the text.


Text as time and space


It was as if you were in the future. Because you were further into the text than I was. And because I had already read the text a few times, I knew where you were.


I mean, I thought she is reading something and I don’t know where she is about in the text. And then I came there, and I realised that is where she was, and I recognised it.


This is the textorium. Where are you when you are in a text?


And is it possible to recognise the other and the self in the textorium?




Notes and Credits

1. Proposition for Space Sounding. View inside Sala del Camino. Image courtesy of UniArts.

2. Space Sounding within the courtyard of former Convento dei SS. Cosma e Damiano on 9 May 2019. Readers: Cordula Daus, Emma Cocker and Lena Séraphin. Photograph by Michaela Bränn.  


Take some printed pages of text or an open book. Find a space with room to wander – whether inside or outside, in daylight or at night. Begin to read the text out loud, attending to its reverberation in the space. Explore how the read text reverberates in different parts of the space – in the centre and at the edges, at the thresholds and the corners. How does the text reverberate against the surfaces in this space – how is it when whispered close or shouted loud against the walls, the floor? How does it change as you move from near to far? How does the space absorb or deflect the words that you are reading? How does reading in the space sound; how does the space sound through the act of reading?


Then consider the textorium, the virtual space that opens to the reader in-and-through the act of reading itself. How does the space that opens within the text intermingle with the external space of one's surrounds? Shift one's awareness between these two spaces whilst reading, blurring the boundary between the virtual and the actual, between inner and outer worlds.