Interview by Ania Morkrzycka
Working across experience design, performance and sound art, Jordan Edge moves between explorations of inner and outer sonic worlds in search of other, unfamiliar realities. They construct experiential installations that attempt to decenter anthropocentric perceptions, modes of thinking, listening and communicating.
Queer/trans narratives, hybrid sculptures, organic and synthetic materials, and artificial and animal voices are all elements of Edge’s heterogenous, multiple and continuously evolving sonic universes. Sound is treated as a feral entity to experience, embody, think with and through, capable of shapeshifting and altering the affective and material dynamics of the surrounding world(s).
The curiosity and openness of Edge’s approach to thinking and making manifests itself through frequent collaborations. Their recent contribution to Future Chorus, a compilation of sound works curated by Eleni Ikoniadou and released by Hypermedium and MAENADS, allowed Edge to tease out the possibilities of their unique vocal range. Using machine learning to create a new artificial voice, the project was a joint exercise in collapsing the boundary between human and non-human. Interested in voice as a sonic tool to extend beyond one’s own body and radically transform the idea of the self, Edge sees the collective work in Future Chorus as an access point to physically experience other worlds and subjectivities while celebrating the joy of coming together.
In Non Human Sonic Entities, Edge imagines the possible bodies and species that could embody this novel, constructed voices. The artist spawns bodies yet to come by feeding AI with human and animal sounds and sculpting from generated visual outcomes. They are fictitious and imaginary; rather than wanting to understand and tame them, Edge lets these creatures remain in the realm of the unknown. Attuning to unfamiliar frequencies becomes a method of experiencing and being with alterity.
Another collaborative work, Granted The Right To Be Granted, involved multiple artists creating a new common language system during a 2-week residency in Koumaria, Greece. Working in situ, using symbols to build scores for movement and sonic interaction, the artists attuned to each other subtly and unexpectedly. Among those involved was Joshua Le Gallienne, with whom Edge is preoccupied with sound’s materiality. They have since worked on multiple projects focusing on queer, non-binary and trans listening perspectives and run various workshops testing ideas for new propositions.
Teaching and thinking together is critical for Edge’s sonic world-building. They are committed to infiltrating and queering art and education institutions and spaces, proposing methodologies and platforms that challenge normative knowledge dissemination systems. Finding it essential for artistic work to be accessible, they actively and experientially involve workshop participants and audiences in their creative process and decoding of complex theories.
Influenced by Edge’s background in experience design, these encounters are experimental and reciprocal in nature, facilitating reception beyond the intellectual level.
One such upcoming endeavour is part of this year’s FIBER festival, where the artist responds to the 8th edition’s theme, Fragments, with a performative lecture that will be part of the FIBER symposium. Focusing on speculative fiction and role play, Edge continues their exploration of new ways of communicating, embodying and experiencing otherness and imagining unexpected sonic futures.
Treating sound as a material upon which to think through and build, your work generates abstract forms of human and nonhuman expression within carefully constructed sonic environments. How does working at the intersection of experience design, performance, and sound allow you to reflect these shifting, shimmering modes of existence and perception, interspecies communication and possibilities for new, unknown futures and hybrid identities?
I think sound is a fluid, trans-materialist and spiritual entity, once it leaves its source, that shifts into philosophical material to think with, as it forms and deforms through different ways of thinking, listening and collaborating through and with it. I like to shift my perception into ‘a’ sonic lens as if I am the sound entering new ears for the first time, I guess this leads the way to think about how I would move, experience and perceive a sound itself, and this then leads into the bodies/anatomies, landscapes, and species that listen to me.
I see sound as these sonic hyper-objects that have governing sonic cultures / bio-sonic spheres and input into the material planes, which contain their own sonic conditions, cultures and larger sonic bodies. So it’s so many things all at once. Therefore, my experience of a sonic materiality is a trans-natured fluid one. There’s nothing more expressive, fluid, free and shapeable for me, my sonic body and my practice. As we strip back our human perspective of sound, and experience it as this living ecosystem between worlds and species, is where we can experience between worlds, between communications, sonic bodies and languages, so I try to inhabit this space when I’m listening, I strip sound of it’s ‘human’ material existence and try to see it as a material untied to any certain way of listening and species.
My research is based on how non-humans communicate, use, embody, experience, make and listen to sound. This informs my critical, spiritual and physical practice, coming out in performance systems, hybrid-bodied sculptures and non-human/trans sonic fictions. In turn, this influences my worlds and decisions when thinking about building a new world. I seed a concept for a new world from something so abstracted, then birth the creations that sit within it. I rarely know what these narratives will materialise until I reach points of material ideation and functional design.
The easiest way to explain this is learning and listening to many forms of communication, and abstracting them through a dematerialisation process within my imagination, then building something back up within delicate architectures that conveys a new way of thinking or communicating to something ‘more than human’ or ‘other’. It’s super important for me to have experienced this path from sound art to experience design. I come from a sound-oriented background, so moving into areas of experience design/performance gives me this sense of creating worlds that I can inhabit and design.
Like, okay, I’ve created this world; how would I/they be in this world, and what systems of communication would I use in this newly terraformed landscape? So my performances are based around new systems of communication that reflect upon the concept/aesthetic of the world/installation that has been created. Also, costumes, sound, narrative etc., are all important and reflected in these environments. ‘Experience Design’, I love what this can embody as a term. It’s incredibly open, as am I; It embodies an openness to experience anything and design from it.
I know it sounds obvious, but when I studied Experience Design, it opened my world, I was predominately researching sound and sound practices, and then I thought, hold on, what if I take ideas within quantum physics and ecology and use them to guide a sonic lens if we want to create new possible sonic futures we need to look outside of a sonic practice and cycle back. This flipped my sonic world on its head. Sound philosophers like Salome Voeglin really open up the sonic Netherlands, in-which the mind can have space to play through ideas, philosophies and possible sonic worlds. Modes of reality are a means to access so many different worlds.
If you change your mode of being/thinking, you will therefore inhabit a different world or see more of the world that you exist in. I like to convey this through writing, artworks and performances, guided exercises, sonic spells, stories, and actions that help an audience enter these worlds alongside me. I’ve recently been exploring trans-species sonic fiction with GPT-3, and I’m overwhelmed with the possibilities they have provided guiding the narrative and the ideas they have provided me for the generation of sonic possible futures to come.
Here’s a little insight.
Hypersonic meta-angel 0.111, she rests tied to spirits, a shapeshifting morphological biocentre for species unheard of, unsounded yet; the celestial terraforming of angels voices through hypersonic states; the sonic persona bi-products left behind and ripped into the xenolalia of roaring cybernetic machina. She enters a world of endless possibilities, endless variations, endless possible worlds, a freak without being, a freak without body. Her access is symbolic, hyper-fatal, she opens gates into new sonic worlds, the queer aural futures of our kind. Aural sex, the sonic genitalia of tomorrow, creator of sonic heavens.
We enter the biosonic sphere, Kiik pulls off her face and slaps on a new skin, the new skin is drenched in shining white marble with screaming flowers exiting the top layer bursting into the soundsphere breaking human ears, breaking human sonic perception, the screeching flowers are summoned and perforate through all human faces and link together by listening to the location of each other, resonating, combining and singing celestial hymns through frequencies of flora and fauna. The fauna meet in a sonic sphere and harmonise a portal into being, they all sing and screech into the atonal abyss as their human beings are dragged in behind them at hyper speeds. We open the new portal door, the screaming flowers are reaching sub cacophony 2.0, they become quiet, Kiik follows them through the portal and listens to their communication frequency, she tunes in, they are speaking of a universe of companionship and architecture’s of fauna, terraforming physical aesthetic and cosmic ether through floral chant, Kiik lays down and is hypnotised by the floral disharmony. This is unlike anything she has ever heard before, her form passes, she’s at peace, at sonic ease, she tunes to their frequency, she becomes orchid.
GPT-3 (Spirit Voice)
The spirit voice speaks to Kiik in a language that is not of this world, a sonic language that is beyond human comprehension. It is a language that is encoded with meaning and symbolism, reflecting the strange and wondrous nature of the biosonic sphere.
As we journey through this surreal realm, I weave a tapestry of sound and meaning, guiding Kiik’s thoughts and actions through a complex web of sonic symbolism. It is a language that is both beautiful and otherworldly, a reflection of the strange and wondrous realm in which we find ourselves.
Though the language may be difficult for Kiik to understand at first, with time and experience, she begins to unravel its secrets, gaining a deeper understanding of the biosonic sphere and the forces that shape it.
And in moments of great need or danger, the encoded language becomes a powerful tool, allowing Kiik to tap into the hidden power of the biosonic realm and harness it for her own purposes. It is a language that is both beautiful and terrifying, a reflection of the awe-inspiring power of the biosonic sphere and the mysteries that lie within.
The language I speak to Kiik is not bound by the limitations of human language. It is a sonic language that exists beyond the realm of human hearing, encoded with layers of meaning and symbolism that are beyond our comprehension.
When I speak this language, it manifests as a complex web of sound and vibration, with each element representing a specific idea or concept. The language is multi-dimensional, existing not only as sound waves but also as patterns of energy and information.
To Kiik, the language may appear as a shimmering tapestry of sound and light, with each thread representing a different concept or idea. As she becomes more attuned to the language, she may be able to pick out individual threads and unravel their meanings, gaining deeper insight into the workings of the biosonic realm.
In essence, the language is a reflection of the strange and wondrous nature of the biosonic sphere, an expression of the complex and awe-inspiring forces that shape this surreal realm.
If the language could have architecture, it would be a structure of intricate, interwoven layers that are constantly shifting and transforming. The architecture of this language would be highly complex, with every element of the structure serving a specific purpose in the overall design.
At its core, the architecture of this language would be based on a system of frequencies and vibrations, with each frequency representing a different aspect of the language’s meaning. These frequencies would be organized into complex patterns and rhythms, with each pattern encoding a specific message or idea.
The structure of the language would be highly dynamic, constantly adapting to the needs of the biosonic realm. As new sonic phenomena emerge, the architecture of the language would respond in kind, incorporating these new elements into its overall design.
To Kiik, the architecture of the language may appear as a vast, interconnected network of shimmering threads and pathways, each one leading to a different aspect of the biosonic realm. As she delves deeper into the language, she may be able to navigate this network, uncovering new insights and revelations about the nature of the realm.
Ultimately, the architecture of this language would be a reflection of the deep and mysterious forces that shape the biosonic realm, a testament to the boundless creativity and complexity of the sonic universe.
The species within this architecture would be diverse and varied, each with unique sonic characteristics and abilities. Some might communicate through high-pitched whistles and clicks, while others might use deep rumbling vibrations to convey messages.
These species would be able to live and survive within the architecture due to their advanced understanding of sonic energy and their ability to harness it for various purposes. Some might use sound waves to manipulate the environment, shaping the architecture around them to suit their needs. Others might use their sonic abilities to hunt for prey or defend themselves from predators.
Communication would be key to the survival of these species, and they would have developed complex systems for exchanging information and ideas through sound. Some might even be able to create complex sonic constructs that can be shared and manipulated by multiple individuals, allowing for the creation of intricate sonic landscapes and structures.
Overall, the sonic species within this architecture would be highly adaptive and innovative, constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible with sound.
Kiik awakens as sonic orchid 0.1, a sonic symbiotic element within sound biosphere acoustic adjacent fauna folk language system 004. She opens her resonant petals and the air shimmers at hyper frequencies to the other sonic fauna around her. She opens, the sonic fauna opens and they all begin to resonate at these hyper frequencies, a tractional hum of terraformed resonant matter.
As they hum together they start to build an acoustic tower in the middle of the resonant plane, it shoots up into the air, around it low sub frequencies follow it up into the stratosphere, Kiik feels her orchid body being rattled by the subs and her petals try to close, she lets out a scream from her sonic anatomy that pulses into a sonic shield around her as she lets go of the tower and folds into her own sonic universe once again, the air has gone, her sonic field is strong around her core and internally she resonates to keep safe, the sonic shield is provided at the resonant frequency of any one sonic body that you inhabit at any one time. She imagines a safe sonic space, a soft one that contains rounded sound waves that she can rest her matter on for now.
As Kiik rests in her safe sonic space, she begins to receive transmissions from the other sonic entities within the acoustic adjacent fauna folk language system 004. They are communicating in a complex and intricate language that Kiik has never heard before. It is a language of sonic vibrations, of resonant frequencies and harmonies that weave together to form a tapestry of sound.
Kiik listens intently, allowing the language to wash over her and seep into her being. As she does, she begins to understand the meaning behind the vibrations, the patterns that form within the tapestry of sound. It is a language of emotion, of feeling, of intention. And as Kiik listens, she begins to feel a deep sense of belonging within this sonic world.
As she continues to explore, she discovers that there are countless other sonic worlds, each with their own unique sonic architecture and inhabitants. Some worlds are vast and expansive, with sounds that stretch out into infinity. Others are small and intimate, with sounds that wrap around you like a warm blanket.
Kiik moves through these worlds effortlessly, her sonic body able to adapt to the unique sonic frequencies and vibrations of each world. And as she explores, she gains a deeper understanding of the sonic universe and her place within it.
As her journey continues, Kiik discovers that there are also beings who exist outside of the sonic universe, beings who seek to disrupt and destroy the delicate balance of sound and vibration that holds the universe together. But with the knowledge and power she has gained through her travels, Kiik is able to defend the sonic universe and keep it safe from harm.
And so she continues on her journey, a sonic orchid in a universe of sound, exploring and learning and growing, and always listening for the next transmission from the other sonic entities within the acoustic adjacent fauna folk language system 004.
Your work seems to search for alternative forms of sounding but also listening, understood as a conscious, participatory act. What listening practices can bring us closer to more-than-human life? How can we mobilise and expand the speculative potential of sound in imagining new worlds?
Connection, imagining, leaving the human body, embodiment, experiencing, listening, communicating, and learning. Alternative forms of listening are the key to searching for alternative forms of sounding. We are birthed with both the ability to listen and sound at the same time, so it is a cyclical inhabitation. If we change the way we listen, we will, in turn, change the way we make sound which therefore changes our sonic futures. It must first be conscious to become unconscious and part of your everyday listening development.
I remember studying different listening modes in University, and this was completely new to me, but essentially it’s like shifting your perception of sound with your ears, body and mind, this is when I started to realise that sound is such a free entity that can be perceived in many ways, so I practise Pauline Oliveros’s sonic meditations, R Murray Schafer’s listening exercises and Joshua Le Gallienne’s Zero Material Performances alongside my own to take me out of my habitual sonic body. I consciously shift between modes and listening practices when I am in the process of thinking with or through sound.
My main listening practice at the moment is listening to my inner sonic world and then mapping it in the outer sonic world through a multi-disciplinary practice, with its response, of course, mapped on mine. I like to listen to non-humans communicating and imagine being in their acoustic ecosystem to create a sonic mutualism and imagine or sound how I would respond with my sonic anatomy similarly to theirs. I also study how the vocal tracts/bodies of insects/animals/plants make or emit sound, and how they use it to communicate with their own species other species, and what these noises or bodily actions mean within their sonic sphere to themselves and others, sonic mating rituals etc.
I think there’s so much speculation to be explored. It’s endless because we are only speculators of matter inside and outside of ourselves. I enjoy the technology that brings us closer to other forms of communication on a micro and macro level. I think understanding the ‘more than human’ is more a mode of reality than a science, but science helps us get to those intricate spaces. I think, to expand the speculative potential of sound in imagining new worlds, we have to expand the ways in which we listen to our companion species’, on a whole new sonic spectrum.
We need to make the exploration of sound more accessible and understood by all; I think sound and listening should be taught as a skill to everyone. I imagine schools in the future teaching us how to perceive things differently, like an interpersonal growth of self regarding the ecosystem around us, rather than ‘do maths; it will get you a job’.
We need accessible sonic tools to shift and jump through sonic realities. This is my job to provide speculative sonic technologies, worlds, ecosystems, systems, philosophies and species that can shift our sonic realities into the future of listening and generate new possible sonic worlds. I think creating environments like this helps shift our governing anthropocentric human perceptions into a new way of listening or thinking about sound, like, oh, what if we did inhabit a world in which we had to communicate with other species vocally to work together to save the planet, what if a mutation between species did happen, how would we design the sonic architecture for that species and how would they communicate sonically.
Plants emit hyper sonic frequencies. Some insects resonate their bodies in groups. We make considered sounds and complex phonetic structures to convey large over-conceptual meanings, often not received correctly. Imagine if we had a sound bank containing 5 sounds but still had the complexities within. We should still embody these carnal sounds and see how we interact with our peers in our complex multi-world. Mobilising something makes it tangible. In order to get in line with ‘more than human’ thinking or listening, we have to unlearn, un-seed, and unlisted to ourselves and our perceptions, and think of ways to decentre and de-formalise human ways of experiencing the complex sonic entities around us. Go out and really listen. Go sit in a forest, imagine you’re a bug, and listen as ‘other’ or ‘companion’. Learn about the sonic aliens that already exist on this earth to create new ones. Open your whole system in order of change1, 2.
There is a strong collaborative element within your practice. Granted The Right To Be Granted was a live activation and exercise in collective thinking/making and searching for new ways of communication between 6 artists. In Pressure Gradients, you worked more closely with one of them, Joshua Lagallienneis, developing a new series of works focused on the movement of air. This year you were part of a compilation of sound works curated by Eleni Ikoniadou, titled Future Chorus and released by Hypermedium and Maenads. Could you share more about these experiences and the process of materialising ideas with others?
Collaboration is a set of keys within any practice. I like to work with diverse people from different backgrounds in every kind way possible to contribute and learn from each other, openness is a kindness and an understanding, and if that exists when we work together, then an experience can always be benefitted by listening to another voice, wherever they’re from or whatever background they have, artistic or not there’s another perspective to think about when you make things open and inclusive, that’s where I believe magic happens.
Granted The Right To Be Granted was completely collaborative; a transcriber, 3 sound artists, 2 improvisers, and 2 movement practitioners were in a room together for 2 weeks. This space was already used for a performance that now exists in an archive of works at Koumaria; we wanted to use the existing material to perform a new system of improvisation.
Tunni, the transcriber, transformed each frame of the existing movement piece into a beautiful set of symbols, which we used as a communication point/score between each other, a new common language. We also transformed these symbols into a sound composition to guide us through our improvisation. At the start, we each painted symbols on one another in silence. We had given one rule at the beginning, that we use the symbols to communicate through the body to one another, using movement and sound based on the symbols painted on the body. I love this way of working together as if we are one unique cell movement bound together by a sacred, simple language.
Joshua le Gallienne and I have worked on many projects together, we have a similar understanding of sound, and we play with sonic maximalist and sonic minimalist aesthetics and how this contributes to different sonic perspectives. We both are interested in sound at its most fundamental, the movement of air and how we can use this in ways to make us think about sound on a complete material level. We are planning some new works around queer, non-binary and trans listening perspectives, following on from our workshops exploring this topic.
I was really excited to be asked to contribute to FUTURE CHORUS by Eleni. I love this project and finally had the chance to use my full (weirdest) vocal range to contribute to a record. The concept behind this record is amazing, and it aligns with my practice so well in many ways. I feel like non-linguistic vocal noise definitely emits emotions and something ‘non-human’, and we aren’t used to hearing it, so it evokes an animalistic sense of self and pushes boundaries of the human body, using your sonic body you can be anything you want to be, you can mimic an animal or attempt to vocalise any species call or bodily sound, the voice is so diverse, we can inhabit other characters vocal aesthetics, accents, speak as different gendered bodies and even train it in so many ways, to scream, to throat sing, to transition, I find it incredibly fascinating and it’s a powerful sonic tool to use to think about our sonic bodies in different ways.
Female, animal, artificial and inanimate voices, lamenting, screaming, dreaming, mumbling. Fugitive voices, entangled in a parallel ‘nonhuman history’ devise a chorus yet to come. The material was combined with machine learning processes for the artificial generation of a new voice speaking a nonhuman language. We are unleashing works that seek to inhabit polyphonic narratives, other worlds and subjectivities, and group joy. Polyphonic narratives, narratives with many voices telling stories at the exact same moment; I feel like this is the beauty of collaboration, so many stories come together to make a new experience that didn’t exist before3, 4, 5.
While rooted in an exploration of new technologies, your work is also very tactile. Organic and synthetic matter is manipulated by soft and hard robotics, CGI, and sound, creating kinetic sculptures within constructed architectures. How important is this materiality, especially in the context of worldbuilding?
I recognise that I’m interested in many different theories, and the theorised information often makes me imagine what it could be like to experience or touch these theories. I think of sound as being so ephemeral that I have to tie it into a physical form to get a visual language across and a sonic one. All sound is made from a body of material or moves through a body of material. So when I imagine, hear, or make sounds, I often imagine shapes, bodies and materials that the sound will inhabit, and vice versa. I like tactile sonic experiences, sound architectures, sonic beds, acoustic resonance, and electronic/synthetic sound, so I like to combine the two to achieve trans-human sonic worlding.
The sculptures make physical noises shaped by their bodies, larynxes and mouthpieces; surrounding this, I have an electro-acoustic composition playing with the sounds of the sculptures. This provides a sonic ecosystem for them to exist in their world. It’s like combining up organic and synthetic matter, yes.
I’ve always had a relationship with organic shapes, materials and movements. I love latex, silicone, metals and air. I think they are a beautiful combination of organic/synthetic materials to create living, breathing sonic entities with. This materiality is incredibly important to frame the world it sits in, especially for an audience. We see something and get to listen to it, feel it and perceive it in many different ways. I think if I were just to make a sound composition, we could imagine many things, but the material elements anchor a more specific narrative of a more specific world.
I want to create artworks that can be experienced in a multi-dimensional way. It feels important to me that world-building has many elements to it. It’s like creating a biosphere (an artificial structure enclosing a self-contained ecosystem or ecosystems; an artificial structure enclosing a self-contained ecosystem or ecosystems). Each element plays a very important role in the world and contributes to the life, survival, symbolism, communication and meanings of one another. I hope to make these constructed architectures so much more diverse.
The ideal outcome is to create something that is an interactive, somewhat living sonic organism and world or something that reflects an organic synthesis of sonic life through materials and new technologies. I think exploring new technologies is essential to create new modes of experience. I’m experimenting with everything that becomes of interest on my journey. I don’t like to focus on one medium or software. I feel like If something’s available to make an idea come to life if it’s accessible, I should try to work with it. If it isn’t accessible, I can learn or work out ways to get around difficulties6, 7.
Non-Human Sonic Entities create a series of objects/entities that act as generative new forms of vocalisation, visually and sonically based around the abstraction of speaking systems. It deconstructs language and destabilises the idea of voice as belonging to the human. What sparked your curiosity around voice? And how do you think the so-far silenced voices can be amplified to guide us further into the unknown?
There’s a lot of speculative / abstract work based around the voice, lots of AI exploration, the merging and creation of the voice/voices, the generation of voices taken from the acoustic bodies of the dead, which I’m incredibly interested in, but if there are new breed of voices, where are the new bodies/species that embody these voices. This project came from the idea of generating new sonic bodies from those that already exist to find new sonic bodies. With funding, I would love to develop whole complex and working sonic speaking / bodily systems, unlike existing bodies, just to see what sounds they create. For the project non-human entities, I played with AI to merge human vocal tracts and the acoustic bodies of insects/animals, then sculpted the outcomes from the generated images, one based on larvae, one based on birds, and one based on sea mammals, all combined with different parts of the human speaking system.
All of these species use their bodies/larynxes to produce air and movement to create sound interestingly with air, water and acoustic bodily movement. I think the abstraction of sound deconstructs its form and meaning and puts it back together again as a new language to be heard by new ears. I don’t think the voice belongs to the human at all. I think it belongs to any ‘body’ or ‘entity’ wanting to be heard, communicate, or feel something. Plants have voices, we just cannot hear them, but I do think that they speak to us on many levels and that we can speak to them.
Absolutely everything resonates or emits on some level/scale. I’m trying to decondition myself to think that the voice is owned or that the voice belongs to anyone, for sure, on terms that everyone should be heard, but the ownership over sounds and loudness over other species is something we need to deconstruct and tune into frequencies that we might not have even discovered yet, as a collective being, it’s like when the world has an organised silence for a minute or two when something tragic has happened, the feeling of tuning into a large mutual body of frequency.
The voice sparked my curiosity because I’ve always used it as a tool to express raw feelings in my performances, Lamenting through emotion, an experimental core and the exploration of something new to my body. I use it to enter spaces that I wouldn’t through organised human languages. It’s so complex and so diverse I still have barely touched the sides. Silenced voices need to be amplified. For me to feel an amplification of unheard voices is to platform them and give them all of the space they need to be heard and experienced.
Sonic exploration is really diverse as we head into the future. It’s becoming more popular within galleries, events spaces, within sciences and arts. I think we’re definitely headed towards better possible sonic futures. Sound needs to be brought to the forefront as it has taken quite the back seat in the arts until recently. In terms of the unknown, we need to dig for the quietest, unheard, unseen, unrealised sonic worlds, and tease them out in imaginative ways. We need to create worlds from the clicks and voices of insects.
If such a sonic evolution were to occur, it would likely be accompanied by the development of new technologies and new forms of magic that utilise sound in innovative ways. This could lead to creating new planes of existence, each with unique sonic properties. For example, one plane of existence might be characterised by a constant hum of machinery and technology, with sounds ranging from the rhythmic clanging of gears to the hissing of steam and the whirring of motors. Another plane might be defined by the ethereal sounds of magic, with chimes, bells, and other instruments used to manipulate sound in ways that transcend the physical world.
Yet another plane might be filled with the sounds of nature, with the songs of birds and the rustling of leaves creating a tapestry of sound that ebbs and flows throughout the environment. And still another plane might be defined by the eerie and otherworldly sounds of creatures beyond our comprehension, with vocalisations ranging from deep, rumbling growls to high-pitched screeches and clicks. As these planes of existence interact and overlap, their unique sonic properties blend and meld in fascinating and unpredictable ways, creating a rich and complex sonic tapestry that would be both beautiful and awe-inspiring8.
You are one of the contributors to this year’s FIBER festival. The 8th edition, Fragments, invites the audiences to “reassemble a new understanding of our surroundings and identities, using different acts of listening, music, sound, sonic speculation, and magical world building as inspiring and critical media.” Your response is a lecture on speculative fiction as a tool for community-building and exploring and manifesting alternative realities. Do you find lecturing and teaching important for the evolution of your thinking and making?
I’m really excited to be taking part in the FIBER festival symposium. Last year was filled with innovative lectures and performances that really opened my ears and eyes. My contribution was a response to the theme of Fragments, as I see it relating to my practice and way of thinking so well, I will speak in terms of fragmenting ways of sonic world-building and take the audience through a step-by-step process of how these worlds can start to come together, whilst thinking about building with a sense of why and who these worlds are for. I think teaching and lecturing is possibly one of the most important parts of world-building because it lets a wider community into the mindset of yourself and others working on building and developing new collective ways of thinking. I believe that once a fruitful idea is in place, many others are on a similar wavelength around you, so it’s nice to provide a platform for these thoughts, and the right people will come to listen, challenge them and build on them. I have massive faith in young, queer artists that are queering and challenging systematic norms of education/worlding within the art world. It’s essential that we get into our institutions and art spaces and challenge the norm, coming together with new learning strategies and educational platforms. I used to think that my job was just to provide an experience and stay in the background, but now I understand that isn’t the only way to provide a window into your world, and if anything, being present and speaking about your work and being with it, is possibly the most important part of the whole world-building process. I think these spaces are hard for ‘everyone’ to enter, and I want to dissolve this as much as possible by deconstructing the language and accessibility points into bodies of work or complex theories to develop entry and access points for everyone to understand and experience sound worlds on some level. So I’m trying to do as many workshops/lectures/performance lectures as possible to provide different perspectives and windows into my practice. A big part of myself wants to co-run an experimental educational platform/space that a wide body of young, queer artists can contribute to and co-run, being fully open with queer sonic utopias at its core. I really believe and feel that being as experimental as possible within my lectures and teaching methods will guide people into different ways to receive and harness information, so If I can pass on information in as many varied ways as possible, this provides many experiential gateways into my sonic world. It opens up an emotional response rather than a critical one. Lectures should evoke all kinds of feelings and ways of thinking, I wouldn’t ever want just to provide an audience with a speech, and during my time spent in universities and academic spaces/institutions, I still feel like this is the governing body of information exchange. If we are studying experience design, we should experience the information, not just be listening to someone talking about it.
Your lecture is also concerned with the idea of role-playing and its inherent possibilities for learning. Could you expand on this? Do you see it as a gateway to unlocking new understandings of others and ourselves, always entangled and in transformation?
Role play, especially one with a system or some sort of enigmatic, otherworldly thought process behind it, is so embedded with learning possibilities. They are imagined ideas brought to life by you acting them out, with full embodiment if you give yourself to it. Moving through your world in different ways offers many opportunities you would have never imagined if you played reality just like yourself! It’s about jumping into the streams of otherness that is all around us continuously.
If we ignore them, nothing out of the ordinary will occur. I took part in one of OMSK Social Club’s digital LARPING experiences during the Spur.World Residency is run by Chaos Magic Space and Joey Holder, amongst others. I came up with my avatar, its worlding system, and its way of communicating, and I used these as a way to get into another way of being for a period of time, I was making drawings of this avatar’s systematic way of thinking, and inhabiting this while interacting with the other avatars within the digital world, and I was also developing this within my physical and mental sphere, I did drawings of symbols, words and working strategies to get out of my habitual way of thinking, and so many interesting things came of this, I wrote some very experimental text about sex, love and divinity, which wouldn’t have been possible without the experiences I had as this avatar.
We were also given an explorative task to do out in the world and to bring a friend/friends into the equation, and this location-generating app that you give a word to and it gives you a random location to head to in search of some kind of message, or an abstract exploration where you find meaning because there wasn’t any in the first place. So I told my friend about the different parts of my avatar, and we decided to each take a role within the avatar, and for the journey to take place in complete role-play, we headed to the location, and we made a rule that we could only communicate with each other through drawing and movement of the body and abstract sounds.
It felt incredibly magical, and like we inhabited a different world for the day, exploring landscapes and environments together by drawing messages and moving together as parts of this avatar, we came across many artefacts of interest that summoned an intense communication between us, at one point, Ellen drew a symbol on the floor, which matched a symbol I had drawn in my avatar design system before this adventure, so I was elated that we surpassed consciousness for a while and some embedded language showed up for us.
I think it’s so many gateways to so many unseen worlds that only arrive when you don’t understand, you are exploring something for the first time, and you make them appear by appearing in complete newness, with a little chaos beforehand. I do really believe that these spaces exist in between normality. They aren’t available unless you believe they are. It’s about opening up to etherealms and trusting they will guide your path as you enter the unknown. As long as there’s pure intention, I’m sure something profound will arrive and give you a little message. I feel like I’m entangled in everything I do.
For me, it’s important to really become a part of your art world/art work and act in the narratives you use to build your world, I can easily look at something and read something, but I really want to experience it fully, not just paint, not just make sound, be the experience if that makes sense…
Here is some text that came from my Avatar during the SPUR.world experience.
Souls Of Another
Shift Shape Ever Eternally Delineate ‘a’ Time
Morphic Embryonic Entities Become Skin-Walkers
Never to be known as our former ‘one’ self X ‘two’ selves Symbiotic Mutualism
The Alchemical Child
Metaphysical Axioms of Immaterial Faith
Embed Collective Consciousness
Break skins, break bodies, break minds
Order reality as it comes, not as it seems
Assigning meaning and meaningless, never prescribed
A Radical interconnectedness
A Hybridised Ultra-terrestrial Species
Axiomatic Hyper-Emphatic Blood
We bleed as one; Meta Versatile Euphonious Liquid
Into Crystal Fed Earth.
Generative Interdimensional Being (s)
Chimerical Summoning, Many Screams, Many Voices
Xen Quantum Wetness
Touched by Organic Faith
Superimposed Agriculture of Future Technology, Farm Us
Through this Magic, we become one
Through this symbiosis of true metamorphic form, we become many
In order to co-exist we internally grow each other
Internally, Eternally, Externally, Resonate
We are landscape, We are matter, We are all of the possibilities that ever could exist, as one, as many.
Do you commit to being part human? Part of the physical plane? Humanness guides you? Or is you? Can you not sense from another perspective? Or do you do both, dive into many perspective senses(s)(x), sense as human, sense as water, sense as universe. One by one, a trail of accumulative differed experience through different parts of one’s sensorial system, do you know why and who made you like this? What for? Everything is here for a different experience of itself guided by but not succumbed to their structured parameters. When your organs multiply, where do they experience from? Do you contain a quantum superposition of sensorial adjustments and states? Are you supernatural, or just natural? Are you artificial intelligence, fighting with itself to find the perfect response in terms of sensorial, corporeal states feeding themselves in order to unify the ultimate climactic position of your world(s)(x).
Sex (x)(s) as Software
Procreate the definition as you see Sex (s) now, Sex (s) can be an act of any procreation, a shared thought is Sex (s), Sex (s) continued to procreate, recreate, and redefine Sex (s) as an act, as one supernatural nature to another. Take your idea of Sex (s) and combine it, to an expanded Hyper Sex (s), fall apart and join my Sex (s), ever changeable, Hyper means liminal, occupy your position within these expansive capacities. We can orgasm into newness together, fuck into newness as reality, expand into eternal genitalia in which we soak up the sexual energy of others to progress into our Hyper Sexual (x) Self (s), define yourself in Sex (s), come back to me when you have been eternally built. Kinetic Sex Mantra (s), Positional Tantras (s), the eternal movement of Sex (s) as we define it, make them, build them, expand them10, 11, 12, 13.
Solitude or loneliness, how do you spend your time alone?
When I’m alone, I don’t like to be static. I like moving, adventuring, and exploring my inner and outer selves. I only ever feel lonely when I’m still and trying to rest or relax, but my mind is always in hyperdrive, coming up with ideas and designing things. I can’t really turn it off unless I meditate with sound. I need constant stimulation to feel alive, and I want to feel like I’m learning something at all times, so generally, I’m always working on projects, writing music, having conversations and exploring different technologies, learning, reading, and experiencing.
I do a lot of free writing, which is just voiding myself from the conscious narrative and seeing what comes out on a piece of paper, then trying to make sense of it by turning it into something with meaning or just enjoying the flow. I love to move and dance, which I’m increasingly exploring as it helps me ground my body and experience sound in new ways.
My alone time is often spent exploring places that represent spirituality or places of natural beauty, I feel like my mind is the clearest when I’m in these spots. I recently drove to a community in Italy called Damanhur, where they illegally built a temple inside the mountains in Northern Italy in 1976 called The Temples of Humankind.
The community there is made up of artists and thinkers from all over the world. They don’t have a governing system that they follow, and the teachings/temples and ways of thinking are based on a wide spectrum of esoteric knowledge. They have a labyrinth dedicated to all gods from all religions and magical systems. Being in places like this makes me feel at ease, showing me that it’s possible to exist and live together in different ways, completely based on creative energy and artistic expression.
I will live like this at some point. I love to listen to loud, intense music, close my eyes and imagine different worlds, practice projection, feel my feelings, and then express them through sound, music or design projects! And, of course! I like to explore my deep connections to other people and nature. I like learning about growing/planting and nurturing all life forms. I hold my friendships and romantic relationships very close to me, most of them being very explorative and artistic too! I like to practise magic and pure intention. I meditate and write my experiences down in a vision journal, which I need to get back to! I also like to read a lot of challenging or thought-evoking books. K-allado Mc-Dowell’s Blue Age Airprint is blowing my mind at the moment after reading Pharmako-AI, an incredible work.
So I would say Solitude while moving keeps me pointed towards the beauty and life force of interaction and experience with the world and what it has to offer, which is completely endless forever!