Project by: Stacey Copeland
Decades of Cartesian thought within our Western society have created a fracture between the voice and the body. Philosopher Adriana Cavarero reminds us “when the human voice vibrates, there is someone in flesh and bone who emits it.”1 The archive is in dire need of experimental and creative methods of materialization for our digital era to reflect this relation. Presented as a 30-minute soundwork, Speaking In and Listening Out, advocates for soundscape archivism as a political method of creative practice that speaks to this techno-sound-body connection. This experimental soundscape work presents sound art as a creative practice for the media archivist to engage in archival action of activist bodies through the re/materialization of voice.
A 1-day symposium at Ryerson University was the sonic site of investigation and collection of sound material for the creation of this project. Activist Media Archives Symposium: De/Materializing Bodies 2016 asks how we can create new archival practices to reincorporate lost records, voices, affects and bodies.2 As a sound scholar and media creator, this call to action motivated me to question what voices/bodies are doing this work, how we can materialize our bodies through sound and how do our bodies echo and move sonically within acoustic space. Speaking In and Listening Out is a soundscape3 project that focuses on voice, as extension of the body through sound. The plurality and uniqueness of voice, foundational to the symposium ethos, becomes re/materialized at will through on-site recording and on-demand re/amplification. Along with environmental ambience, and interaction between body and space through reverberation, use of objects, and movement through the rooms and hallways, I use soundscape methods as conceptualized by R. Murray Schafer4 to create an artistic affective sound archive of the activist bodies present at the AMA symposium.
1 Adriana Cavarero. “Multiple Voices.” In The Sound Studies Reader, edited by Jonathan Sterne. (New York: Routledge, 2012), 522.
2 “The Studio For Media Activism & Critical Thought.” The Studio for Media Activism & Critical Thought. Accessed October 19th, 2016. studioformediaactivism.com/. Housed in RTA School of Media, The Studio “works to blur the boundaries between media art making, activism, and theoretical /scholarly investigation in the areas of media studies, critical theory, cultural studies, activism, Aboriginal, critical race, feminist and queer studies and social justice.”
3 R. M. Schafer, “Glossary” In The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World (Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 1994), 274. Soundscape defined by Schafer: “The sonic environment. Technically, any portion of the sonic environment regarded as a field of study. The term may refer to actual environments, or to abstract constructions such as musical compositions and tape montages, particularly when considered as an environment.”
4 Ibid, 9. Under the subsection of ‘Features of the Soundscape’ on page 9 of his book, Schafer introduces three key themes (keynote, signal and soundmark) with brief description. Further details can be found in the books glossary of terms pg 271-275.