found sound collage : proposal draft : poem walk

As one of my ideas from my previous post was to record myself reading a small selection of poems I wrote last semester, I am somewhat on track… I think? I hope!

I want to use the sound of my voice, mildly distorted to create a sense of subtle displacement from reality, a suspension of disbelief for a visitor to (vicariously?) experience one of my dream states.

I have been reading (and watching video/audio) of Janet Cardiff (often in collaboration with George Bures Miller)’s walks. In an interview with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Cardiff states, “There is something about audio that goes right into you directly. You can’t stop it. Your brain doesn’t cut it off. Your brain has more of a filtering process for visual information, I think, than with the audio. I don’t know what it is, but somehow sound just comes into your subconscious much faster and easier.” I would like to take advantage of this to push the sense of a lucid dream.

The structure of my sound collage piece, Astral Totems, currently consists of a treble-scraping sound that gradually diminishes once the speaker begins to recite the dream, although the scrape never quite leaves. I feel the track has a haunting quality I like, although I wonder if the speech is slowed down just a bit too much? I also feel the overall sound is flat, and I would like to realize a more dimensional quality.

Logistically, I would like for this sound collage to be incorporated into the installation I am building in my house, although this piece may be used as part of the guided-walk approach to the entrance (via headphones). I envision this walk as a type of transition from a more general collective reality to a shared personal (alternate) reality. The sound collage poem could then help set the tone and shift one’s state of mind to experience the visuals and other sound components within the residence.

In the waking world, there is a coffee shop approximately two blocks from where I live. I believe this would be a ‘holding area’ conducive to prepping visitors and fitting them with headphones and audio players. But this then begs the question of, should the visitors wear headphones throughout the piece? No. Not for this particular installation. Hmmm… Now there is the problem of where to deposit the headphones before entering the house. Easily solved in the physical world, but this may mentally translate into a disconnect from whatever connection has been established by the guided collage poem walk. There must be better way. Perhaps the visitors will need to crowd around the guide to hear the poem from speakers (embedded within an umbrella)? This could kind of work, although I feel there is nothing to quite match the clarity and intimacy of headphones. I may need to get over my headphone obsession. Additionally, I wonder if I should vocally (or otherwise audibly) incorporate something into the sound collage poem that a visitor would notice specific to the walk (from the coffee shop to the house), but not necessarily to the dream? Maybe recall the sound of a jackhammer on the street while I watched a garden spider devour her prey?



One thought on “found sound collage : proposal draft : poem walk

  1. Hi Lazae,

    I found the piece I was thinking of:

    I didn’t remember the umbrellas were actually hanging from trees, but there you have it.

    I was thinking more about the ending (after the potential hypnosis part) and wondering whether there might be a way to use everyday rituals of coming and going into a home to help frame the piece? It might be interesting to frame the experience on either side (beginning/end) in terms of ‘ordinary’ experience, since everything else will be so extraordinary. I thought of this particularly because of what you said about wanting to provide an opportunity for participants to shift their experience of everyday life — it seems like it calls out for an ordinary ritual in conclusion.


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