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The sound of writing

2017

Music stands, mp3 players, headsets, wires, paper

Size variable

Akeem - 1986
00:00 / 00:00
Carter - 1975
00:00 / 00:00
Suzie - 1975
00:00 / 00:00

About

The sound of writing is a sound installation that, by playing with shared visual symbols related to the world of classical music and personal acoustic memory, invites the audience to reflect on and revisit the definition of writing in the light of the new practices and behaviors arisen with the technological revolution.

 

Writing is central to the functioning of developed societies, a process that allows us to convert complex ideas into language and communicate them on paper or computer screen. While the concept remains the same thru our life, the processes and tools we use to perform it transform and multiply over time: we slowly move away from the rigorous strict set of rules we were taught in school, and develop characteristics unique to each individual. Thus, the meaning of the active verb “to write” is perceived differently from one person to another depending on language, culture, but also personal history and life experiences.

The sound of writing intents to open a dialogue on all the new nuances encapsulated in the apparently simple and common action of writing; a dialogue lead by sounds and acoustic memories. To create this body of work, I interviewed five people who hold a special relationship with words and language - from poets, to linguists, to software engineers or stand up comedians - asking them to share their personal history with writing. Moving away from the content of what was written, we focused on the process of writing itself, looking at the different tools used and the way participants have been using each of them over time to express their creativity and leave traces of their thoughts.

Using analogue sounds and digital music softwares and in collaboration with music composer, Elias Constantopedos, I then translated these personal testimonies into five musical pieces where traditional musical instruments are replaced by the writing tools listed by each participant.

 

Inside the exhibition space, each sound piece is accessible thru a pair of headphones placed on a musical stand and is accompanied by a music score printed on traditional staff paper. Each symphony tells a very personal and anonymous story of human relationship with writing. Some are similar, others in direct contrast; some are very detailed, others more abstract; some reflect a romanticized and nostalgic idea of the act, others relate the more pragmatic and contemporary reality of it. Detached from their owner, these stories become an anonymous public exposure of the transformative act of writing thru time and space.

The purpose of the project is to encourage viewers to engage in a similar internal travel mediated by the instruments they hear. While listening to one or another symphony, a visitor may single out a small sound that revives some familiar acoustic memory attached to his or her personal history - childhood, travels, readings, dreams and loved ones - memories that will invite him or her to engage into a introspective exploration with one central question: “What does writing means to me?”

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