The Reason I Sway


  • 06.11 > 25.11.2023

the rea­son I sway

Communication through sound has been a stea­dy cen­ter of inquiry, and I still expe­ri­ment on how to work with vocal expres­si­on and sound on a level of inter­de­pen­den­ce, tre­a­ting both as com­po­si­ti­o­nal ele­ments of a kin fabric. During this resi­d­en­cy I wish to ela­bo­ra­te sonic trans­po­si­ti­ons’, or trans­la­ti­ons into sound mate­ri­al and gestu­res of emo­ti­o­nal, sen­so­ri­al and men­tal sta­tes expe­rien­ced by per­sons with impair­ments and/​or men­tal imba­lan­ces like the autism spec­trum, but also of the ani­mal and vege­tal world; I am thin­king here of the com­plex con­ver­sa­ti­ons of spe­cies and who­le eco­sys­tems through mycor­r­hi­zal net­works, on how cer­tain ani­mals main­ly sniff and hear their way through the world (sen­so­ri­al ways of con­nec­ting) and on swarm behavior. 

I want to lea­ve the track of neu­ro­ty­pi­cal thin­king and immer­se in a dif­fe­rent kind of con­tact: It is not linear. It is fluid and flexi­ble, kind of like a pri­va­te Wikipedia that I am con­stant­ly revi­sing and edi­ting, but instead of words, eve­ry­thing is writ­ten in my own ever-evol­ving lan­gu­a­ge of hier­o­gly­phic films fil­led with hyper­links to asso­ci­a­ted and often irre­le­vant thoughts… I am utter­ly inca­pa­ble of having one thought wit­hout at least ano­ther hund­red coming along for the ride… I am never not cross-refe­ren­cing the trees with the forests…”2 is how come­di­an Hannah Gadsby descri­bes her train of thought. In his book The rea­son I jump”, Naoki Higashida, a young autist with limi­ted ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on skills, descri­bes with the help of faci­li­ta­ted com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on and his mother how he per­cei­ves: To make myself under­stood, it’s like I have to speak in an unknown foreign lan­gu­a­ge, eve­ry minu­te of eve­ry day… What we actu­al­ly are loo­king at is the other person’s voi­ce. When we’re ful­ly focu­sed on wor­king out what the heck it is you are saying, our sen­se of sight sort of zones out… We never real­ly feel that our bodies are our own.” 

Working with per­sons with impair­ments in the past gave me some insight into a dif­fe­rent way of expe­rien­cing life that entails depth, various sen­ses and a huge amount of atten­ti­on to details. Living in the coun­try­si­de, I spend a lot of time out­si­de, obser­ving cats, deer, bir­ds, hed­ge­hogs, trees, flo­wers, worms. In order to gain a glim­p­se into their world, I need to open my sen­ses, give up my per­spec­ti­ve, make way for some­thing unknown. 

These dif­fe­rent modes of per­cep­ti­on bear remar­ka­ble qua­li­ties, talents and sen­si­ti­vi­ties that deser­ve some atten­ti­on and might help us to find balan­ce, ease and plea­su­re living in approxi­ma­ti­ons: not wai­ting for our­sel­ves nor the envi­ron­ment to be per­fect’ to do what we stri­ve to. My own and peer’s limita­ti­ons and the com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons lin­ked to them as well as obser­ving natu­re inspi­re me to invent nar­ra­ti­ves dif­fe­rent from the domi­nant, per­fec­ti­o­nist, effi­ci­en­cy-dri­ven ones. In the face of mass extinc­ti­on of spe­cies, glo­bal war­ming and the was­te of resour­ces, I feel a deep urge to sit with natu­re and learn from her ways of com­mu­ni­ca­ting, to get into an ani­mal or plant appro­ach, if some­thing like this is pos­si­ble, to sen­se each other, as an alter­na­ti­ve and an enrich­ment to our human­cen­tric vie­w­point. Maybe a non-ver­bal access into com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on can help to void the need to jud­ge and hier­ar­chi­ze, or per­haps shows the way into a more inclu­si­ve way of using lan­gu­a­ge. As per­sons with impair­ments final­ly beco­me more and more visi­ble in the arts field, I wish to extend this phy­si­cal pre­sen­ce into are­as like the men­tal, the sen­su­al, the sonic and the relational.