- 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.