The Old Tannery - Yr Hen Tanerdy - An Experiment in Visible Voice - Full Sequence by Jacob Whittaker
All of the contributions in the order they were gathered. Cropped and treated visually for some consistency and contrast, nothing more.
Gwrando at the Tannery
28th April, 2012
What does you voice look like? and Experiments in Visible Voice has been an investigation into the sharing and presentation of aural/vocal experience. The project has explored, in very practical ways, Adriana Cavarero's concept of making oneself audible as making ones’ self audible: uniqueness-in-resonance. Furthermore, her themes of giving voice as convocation, and of giving voice as a reciprocal, and a political action, interpolate the processes of the project.
The audiovisual material we collected in this project working with eidophone in conjunction with digital recording technolgies has been raw, diverse, poignant, and wonderful. People used their voices to explore the effects of soundwaves generating patterns in the sand on the vibrating surface of the eidophone. There were fragile hopeful first moments, moments of disappointment, and developing confidence and excitement; as well as an extraordinarily rapid, and perhaps largely unconscious assimilation, of what it takes to physically produce resonant sounds, over the course of a turn on the eidophone. We hear the individual in each voice, and also the individuality of each evolving interaction.
This show is the result of an unfunded two-week residency here in the Tannery; simple means and the short timescale have been determining factors in the development of this installation. The work presented here is an experiment, a beginning, a sketch.
We have worked with the recordings of the voices as they are, with no effects or looping of recordings. Each sound you hear is the unique recorded vocal action, and is not repeated in the composition. Only six voices are sounding at any one time in the composition, and in future we want to explore with many more than that; however, included over the course of the composition are recordings from all the participants who have taken part so far. Composing with the recordings was an intensive listening process/practice, as we developed a choral audio work which celebrates the beauty of each voice and relates the voices one to another. With the associated video footage, we created a composite of multiple eidophone images.
Working with the recordings, I was reminded of extended voice practitioner Phil Minton’s Feral Choir project. He writes:
My recent experience of working with singers, many of
whom think they cannot sing, has strengthened my
conviction that the human voice is capable of so much more
than is generally understood …anyone who can breathe, is
capable of producing sounds that give a positive aesthetic
contribution to the human condition.
Minton takes singers and non-singers through a series of workshops to create his feral choir: here, it was singing into the eidophone which encouraged participants to use their voices in inventive and experimental ways. The process makes no distinction between languages, right or wrong ways to use the voice, good voices or so-so voices, singers and/or non-singers.
Non-verbal sounds sounds predominate, with participants to exploring a kind vocalising often reserved for familiar and private interactions. The excitement with which many took part led me to speculate whether we were witnessing an active nostalgia for preverbal multisensory experience: recently, the infant-synaesthesia hypothesis suggests that our first experiences are synaesthesic experiences; but it also reminded me of the feelings of expansion and playfulness I experience through free improvisation, in particular at the monthly ‘gathering’ hosted by Maggie Nicols.
With thanks to:
John, Vince, Anthony, Ellen, Brian, Elaine, Kath, Jackie, Dave, Jill, Rye, Penny, Maeve, Helen L., Helen E. J., Sam B., Sam K., Bess, Ann, Anon., Sarah, Leigh, Carolyn, Del, Jane, Anne, Saxon, Ray, Swsi, Pete, Lou, Alis, Joe, Sandra, Trudi, Andy, Avi, Jake, and Gaynor.