At the Disembodied Poetics Conference: Writing/Thinking/Being at Naropa University, in October, 2014 David James Miller, Maryam Parhizkar, and myself discussed the influence of music on our critical and creative writing practices in a panel titled "Echo Locution: Aural / Environment / Body / Poetics." The conversation afterward was very rewarding and there were many questions about the various textual and musical sources referenced. To say thanks, and to keep that conversation going, we've posted a brief summary of our talks and a list of resources from our papers. This is the second of three parts. We hope you enjoy!
Reckoning in the Feedback Loop: Some Notes on the Poetics of Transcendence/Transfiguration
The feedback loop – in sonic terms, this is the event in which a produced sound, an output, is returned to the input, causing changes or modulations in the new output, but always being a continuous buildup of what came beforehand. I’m going to mangle with this idea a bit, figuring out ways in which the idea of this buildup – this coming back to oneself in a performative act that is of past, present and future at once – might be a way for us to think of how language, whether musical or textual, can be used, and what such a buildup might be working toward.... This project aims to transcend the restraints of the body, or, “the limits of body” to think in resonance Akilah Oliver’s question. In other words: how the loop can be an act of constant reckoning, especially for those who create and perform from the several variations of the margins. To transcend, or rise above, can require a change in the performing body – in other words, a transfiguration. How does a politics of transfiguration operate in this constant return? The politics of transfiguration is what scholar Paul Gilroy describes in The Black Atlantic as the utopic intersection of politics and aesthetics in a “emergence of qualitatively new desires, social relations, and modes of association,” working in a lower frequency, “under the nose of the overseers.” My emphasis, in thinking of transfiguration within this context, is on the literalness of the word: trans/figura, the changing of the figure, or, here, the body. Transfiguration as possibility. To work in counterpoint with Akilah’s question: what are the possibilities of the body when the body becomes language or sound?
READING & LISTENING RESOURCES
- Luc Ferrari
- Brandon Labelle - Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life
- Christof Migone
- Edgar Varèse
- Jacqueline Caux - Almost Nothing With Luc Ferrari
- Johnathan Sterne - The Sound Studies Reader
- Henri Pousseur
- Mira Calix
- Michel Chion - Audio Vision: Sound On Screen
- Michel Serres - The Parasite
- Pierre Henry
- Pierre Schaeffer
At the Disembodied Poetics Conference: Writing/Thinking/Being at Naropa University, in October, 2014 David James Miller, Maryam Parhizkar, and myself discussed the influence of music on our critical and creative writing practices in a panel titled "Echo Locution: Aural / Environment / Body / Poetics." The conversation afterward was very rewarding and there were many questions about the various textual and musical sources referenced. To say thanks, and to keep that conversation going, we've posted a brief summary of our talks and a list of resources from our papers. This is the first of three parts. We hope you enjoy!
To Know Noise Is to Know Another: Luc Ferrari's Sound Newspaper Far West News
The Italian-born French composer Luc Ferrari was pivotal in the musique concrète scene emerging in Postwar France, which was characterized by the use of found sound, tape manipulations, and extended instrumentation. From one of his first found sound experiments in Danse Organiques (1971-73), which recorded two women making love, to his extended aural travelogue of he and his wife’s tour through the Southwest in the late 1990s, Far West News (1998-99), Ferrari provocatively pulled intimate noise into an historical period where abstract methods of music composition dominated the European and American scenes. In Far West News, Ferrari employs found sound, minimalist editing, and a variety of innovative compositional techniques to create a Sound Newspaper, a haunting "ambiguous realism" composed from recordings of his sightseeing tours, conversations, and ambient audio during their trip. Contrary to the alienation noise typically provokes, Far West News suggests that an encounter with noise is instead a form of communication rich with intimacy. Ferrari's meticulous, sensitive, and hands-on approach to collecting and composing with found sound demonstrates that when we consider noise as deeply relational it allows us to practice non-referential and comparitivist approaches to reality through our senses. Ultimately, noisy encounters encourage us to understand how resonances of all varieties inflect materiality by engendering sonic affinities between human and non-human players in what Ferrari called the "dialectics of the everyday."
Tag clouds are designed to show the frequency of word usage in a text by enlarging words based on how many times they occur. Microclimate Reviews, however, are hand-selected tag clouds that operate like weather systems, turbulent and resonate across the text. Frequency therefore becomes a microclimate in which one’s personal selection intuits a visual and spatial map of the verbal atmospheres entangled in the pages.
Matthew Klane is co-editor at Flim Forum Press. His books include B (Stockport Flats, 2008) and Che (Stockport Flats, 2013). An e-chap, from Of the Day, has recently been published by Delete Press (deletepress.org). Other new work can be found in Horse Less Review, Lit, Harp & Altar, and word for / word. He currently lives and writes in Albany, NY, where he co-curates the Yes! Poetry & Performance Series and teaches at Russell Sage College. See: matthewklane.blogspot.com.