srijeda, 29. svibnja 2013.

PARC - The Ghost Orchid: an Introduction to EVP (2006/1999) + Electronic Voice Phenomena

Kompilacija Okkulte Stimmen već nam je poznata (vidi ovdje), a ovo je osnovni pregled fenomena elektroničkog bilježenja glasova i slika sablasti, onostranog svijeta, metafizičkih interferencija ili... tko zna čega zapravo.
Televizori, radio-prijemnici, magnetofoni, tosteri... - kao ljepilo za paranormalne aktivnosti.
Britanski Electronic Voice Phenomena ( umjetnički je i medijski projekt u kojem se EVP-fenomen varira u umjetničkim djelima (esejima, književnim tekstovima, multimedijskim izvedbama...).

The ParaPsychic Acoustic Research Cooperative [PARC], in association with Ash International, is proud to present the first ever fully comprehensive investigation into the paranormal phenomenon of EVP, otherwise known as Electronic Voice Phenomenon. Without doubt EVP falls into the catagory of the paranormal alongside other unexplained mysteries such as ufology, life after death & poltergeist activity. The listener is guided through a collection of strange and mysterious voices that have appeared without explanation onto the tapes of EVP researchers. Included with the CD is a 24 page booklet containing commissioned articles which cover the conflicting views surrounding the EVP. Actual voice samples are reproduced here for the first time on compact disc: Polyglot Voices, Public Service Broadcasting, Interruptions across the airwaves, Singing Voices, Instant Response Voices, and the extraordinary Alien Voices. The CD also includes a commentary by the artist Leif Elggren (in English), and recordings of the work of Raymond Cass, England’s leading EVP researcher, and original member of the Fortean Group, and the Latvian EVP researcher, Dr. Konstanin Raudive.
This CD release seeks to present the evidence; are the voices extraterrestrial, paranormal evidence of our telepathic powers or an elaborate hoax perpetrated by sinister and powerful groups to mislead us from their true aims...?
For further information go to:

Grooves Magazine (USA):
Rather than shining light on the unknown, the attempt to explore the world of the dead seems to have made it appear all the more bewildering. Be it through séances or Ouija boards, the desire to reach what Thomas Edison called the ¨living impaired¨ remains very much a vibrant practice. For those who do not feel such an affiliation with the otherworldly, electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) aspires to provide tangible proof for life after death, poltergeist activity, and even the existence of aliens.
“Captured” by high-frequency radio receivers and a bevy of other basic recording equipment, these tapes culled from England’s leading paranormal hobbyist Raymond Cass consist of garbled voices that sing, respond to questions, and often engage in polyglot word play, deftly switching from English to German, Russian, and Latvian. Given the poor quality of the recordings, and the fact that tape warbles or high-frequency chirrups interrupt every now and again, each piece is repeated twice and introduced by composer Leif Elggren, whose brief but informative commentary helps ground the listener amid these brief, often difficult-to-understand sounds. As these fluttering, sometimes caustic, voices spill out onto radio broadcasts, and then quickly depart, one is often inclined to believe that this is all probably the result of channels crossing. At other moments - namely, those populated by alien voices or by the responses of apparent ghouls to the questions raised by radio broadcasters - even the more skeptical may find themselves surprisingly taken aback.
Wherever one happens to stand on paranormal activity, in the end there’s nothing on An Introduction to EVP that is likely to change minds as to the validity of such matters. At the very least, though, watch for blustery weather, invite a qualmish friend over for a glass of wine, give this disc a whirl, and an eventful night may not be far away. [Max Schaefer]

Brainwashed (USA):
This disk combines recordings from two well-known Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP ) researchers: Raymond Cass, whose work makes up the bulk of this disk, and Dr. Konstanin Raudive, who not only produced thousands of tapes during his lifetime but is also alleged to have appeared on recordings himself after his death. (In case you were wondering, Dr. Raudive says he's "living fine.")
The packaging for this rarely available release (it's gone out of print twice in seven years) is lush and obviously produced with care. The booklet includes not only an essay explaining EVP, but also includes detailed and thorough biographies of Cass, Raudive, and Friedrich Jurgenson (who pioneered the technique after finding voices on his tapes of bird calls). The cover image—an adaptation of a polygraph—and the photos of Cass and Jurgenson are printed in a silvery ink with a slight metallic sheen. The polygraph image is repeated in the inside of the booklet and is the perfect visual representation of eerie, distorted speech. The title itself is significant too...a ghost orchid is a tiny and rare flower, hard to come by and grow.
I was a bit apprehensive of listening to this CD initially—I'm the sort of person who avoids scary movies and covered her eyes during the bloody bits in Gladiator—but I actually did not find the recordings to be particularly scary or creepy, perhaps because I was expecting them to be. If I walked into an empty room where these recordings were being played, however, I can't say I wouldn't be scared half to death. The voices do sound ethereal and other-worldly at times; at other times they sound like a commercial or the oldies station being played on a cheap stereo down the block. They speak in English, German, Russian, and Latvian, and sometimes combinations of several languages (the so-called "polyglot voices"). They sing, laugh, and are said to respond directly to researchers and address them by name. Each fragment is repeated three times to give the listener a chance to really hear and absorb the voices.
These voices are said to be ghosts attempting to communicate from the afterlife (including Winston Churchill), psychic impressions from the researcher himself, and even extraterrestrial beings (the evidence for this being their bad grammar). I'm not sure I buy any of those explanations myself, but I do find these recordings fascinating and compelling. Some of the transcriptions of the voices are a stretch and don't sound to me much like what they're "supposed" to (I've also possibly identified an "unknown" alien word as a German surname). Even viewing these recordings as the results of radio interference, cordless phones butting in, or CB or shortwave radios breaking through, they can be enjoyed as the sonic equivalent of a found poem.

Almost Cool (USA):
Released on the Touch UK sub-label Ash International, An Introduction To EVP by The Ghost Orchid is one of those weird releases that will probably only appeal to fans of the seriously odd. EVP itself stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon, and falls into the category of the paranormal alongside stuff like UFOlogy and telepathy. Ash International has teamed up with PARC (the Parapsychic Acoustic Research Cooperative) for this rather exhaustive collection of recordings from the collection of one Raymond Cass and Dr. Konstanin Raudive (with introductions from Leif Elggren). The resulting disc is a whopping 77 tracks and sixty five minutes of static-laden pieces of scrambled voices, singing, and flat-out weirdness that is at times creepy and at others unintentionally hilarious.
Even listeners who are flat-out skeptics can find things that are enjoyable on the release, simply because of the recordings themselves. Many of them warble with a high level of hum and hiss and noise, recalling the sprawling Conet Project box-set of shortwave radio recordings. At any rate, the disc sets itself up well, with an overall introduction by Elggren before going into another explanation from Cass (which is of noticeably lower quality) that leads into the first set of recordings (looped three times each to try to help the listener try to discern the truth). In the case of most of the recordings (in all the different sections of the disc), your overall experience will be defined by just how much you actually believe in the phenomenon.
Personally, I'm a fairly pragmatic person, and as I mentioned above, most of the clips sound like weird interrupts from a radio station, with bursts of song or fragments of broken speech from a language that's indecipherable (actually, none of the "ghosts" seem to speak English). The phenomena has been portrayed and discussed recently in everything from film (the unfortunate White Noise starring Michael Keaton) to non-fiction (Mary Roach devotes a chapter of her book Spook to the study of EVP), and is obviously viewed by serious scientists as a crackpot field.
Even with my skepticism fully in place, I have to admit that some of the tracks are somewhat creepy (namely the "alien voices" and "new research" sections, which deals with direct responses to questions) if you're in the right mood. Given the range of recordings (some of them made almost fifty years ago), the sheer textural quality (including static, weird tape warbles, and high-frequencies blips) of the release is interesting, alongside the random fragments of shattered speech and talking-heads researchers trying to somehow get some sort of response from the spirit world. Further playing on the theme, the CD includes a 12-page booklet discussing EVP, including biographical information on the researchers involved and other information.
As a child, I used to completely love reading about unexplained phenomena, but somewhere along the way, my view of the field went from really wanting to believe everything to not really believing much of anything at all. My views have become much more grounded in science, and while one could argue that the existence of voices on tape actually entails scientific proof, it's also easy enough to argue away as radio or some other sort of interference. That said, many of the clips on The Ghost Orchid are edited to be so short that it's hard to get any sort of context for them. The longer sections do a much better job of laying out the evidence, and while I still don't believe (even though I was a big fan of the X-Files), the more developed setups make for much better listening than a two-second section looped three times. Supposedly, this is only the first release in a series from Ash International about EVP, so here's hoping they draw the listener (believer or not) even further into their world on future efforts.
rating: 7

I also used my gussied-up stereo to investigate electronic voice phenomenon, better known as EVP. The Ghost Orchid: An Introduction to EVP (Ash International) collates examples from three EVP researchers active in the 1960s and '70s: Freidrich Jürgenson, Konstantin Raudive, and Raymond Cass. All three collected purported examples of the dead communicating via radio and their mutterings embedded in magnetic tape. After some obsessive listening, I'm not sure garbled, polyglot utterances such as "Only Sonja Will Make It" and "We Can See Edith by Radio" confirm communication from beyond, but almost all of the examples have a wonderfully cryptic, lo-fi patina suitable for DJ loops or, as the booklet recommends, "intriguing and original ringtones for mobile phones."

The Wire:
Compiled, edited and produced by Justin Chatburn and Ash International's Mike Harding, this massive tape archive, property of an organisation called the Parapsychic Acoustic Research Cooperative, is designed to bring the curious up to speed on the weird and vexing issue of ghost voices, disembodied speech and alien verbal communication. Using a high frequency radio receiver, some simple recording equipment and enough patient determination, it is possible to get in touch with a plethora of mysterious entities who, in time, will not only speak directly to you but also offer oblique, sometimes threatening comments about your current circumstances. Whether benign or just plain evil, these beings have exercised the minds and patience of several researchers over the years, most notably Konstantin Raudive, whose 7" vinyl recording of spirit messages from the likes of Spanish philosopher Ortega Y Gasset and Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky was originally released in 1971 and is now available here in digital form. Most of this amazing collection, however, is derived from the painstaking efforts of Raymond Cass, who has managed, over the years, to coax from the ether such dense spectral patter as "Put it on ice and I'll mend your feet" and "Elvis" and "Not enough there to copy". The polyglot word play as the mysterious voices switch from English to German, Latvian and Russian during a single utterance has a raw phonetic appeal, however puzzling their origins might be. Are they speaking from beyond the grave, the far reaches of the galaxy or some cosmic dimension as yet undiscovered on this fleshly plain? Who can say? But it sure is fun to listen to. [Ken Hollings]

Ash International continues its important mission to give the world unique audio recordings with this fascinating co-operation with PARC - the Parapsychic Acoustic Research Cooperative. EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena and refers to voices of unknown origin which are heard through electrical media such as TVs and telephones. The CD provides detailed introductions which describe the work of leading researchers in the early days of EVP, Swede Friedrich Jürgenson, who made the first recordings and presents research conducted by Raymond Cass, who is perhaps the most experienced and prolific recordist. In the reliable hands of Ash International, the subject is presented with many different types of voice archived. [Mark Blacklock]

The Fortean Times:
A comprehensive collection of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) recordings, as detailed by Jürgen Heinzerling in FT 104. It features over 70 recordings, including the rare disc given away with Dr. Konstantin Raudive's seminal 1971 book, Breakthrough... This is a fantastic piece of work, guaranteed to give even the most sceptical listeners the shivers.

THE GHOST ORCHID "An Introduction to EVP" (Ash International R.I.P.) 14.98 Essentially, The Conet Project From Beyond The Grave!! Huh? Peter Becker, who used to work for Asphodel (R.I.P.), has presented an interesting theory that The Conet Project (the awesome 4 cd documentation of shortwave radio "numbers stations") was nothing more than an elaborate hoax. While we think that he's mistaken and that plenty of evidence points to the validity of The Conet Project, here is a far more questionable recording, because you've got to believe in ghosts rather than a more corporeal conspiracy... The Ghost Orchid documents instances of something called "Electronic Voice Phenomenon", the paranormal appearance of strange voices (which at times sing and speak in multiple languages) on magnetic tape when there shouldn't be any voices there at all... Respected parapsychologists have postulated that these voices are those of dead people (i.e. ghosts) or possibly of extraterrestrial origin! Unlike The Conet Project, which cross referenced the audio tracks with written information, The Ghost Orchid presents these recordings with the audio commentary of one of several researchers (Nadia Fowler, Raymond Cass, and Leif Elggren - the Swedish performance/audio artist), explaining the findings. These recordings are the findings of a number of parapsychologists including Dr. Konstantin Raudive, Friedrich Jürgenson, and Raymond Cass. While there is something wholly terrifying about these recordings, there is an absurd question about these ghostly voices that we have to ask... Why are the majority of these recordings in Latvian? Our resident Latvian, Byram, is unable to answer this question... but perhaps we will hear from him in the any rate, The Ghost Orchid manages to be both spooky and silly, and is definitely a fascinating listen from a pure sound perspective regardless of how disturbing and/or amusing you might find the alleged sound source might laugh at the voice of "Winston Churchill", for instance, spouting nonsense from the netherworld, but it's still a gripping, dark sound document. A word of caution, Jim's copy of this cd disappeared from its case on the Aquarius counter-top at 6:35PM on 5/8/99 and reappeared in puddle of ectoplasmic goo at 3:20 PM on 5/9/99. Haunting.

Electronic Voice Phenomena

Hannah Silva, Ross Sutherland, SJ Fowler, Outfit...

Electronic Voice Pheneomena is an experimental literature and new media project for 2013, exploring contemporary approaches to sound, voice, technology and writing, brought to you by Mercy and Penned in the Margins.
The EVP programme takes its inspiration from Konstantin Raudive’s notorious ‘Breakthrough’ experiments of the 1970s, where he divined voices-from-beyond in electronic noise. Themes of otherness, the profane and divine join with new approaches to writing and performing on this website built around our platform of new commissioned works.
The commissions are based on the premise that both artists and audiences of inter-media art join in a process of divination, belief and association similar to that employed by those finding ghost messages in early tape recordings. This thinkspace links to the paranormal, while also suggesting ways for properly contemporary performance and writing to form connections across electronic interface, human and spiritual other.
tour (all uk=8; uk < spring.2013; eu++)
In May 2013, EVP goes on tour across England with a specially produced show: part séance, part glitch-cabaret and featuring performance from Hannah Silva, Ross Sutherland and SJ Fowler, and a live soundtrack by synth-pop group Outfit. These core acts will be short-circuited with one-off commissions into an evening of multiple flows, augury and errant switches.
mediaBlog(loadMedia(“Thinkspace.evp”), reblog, 1.0);
EVP online, launched December 2012, will feature essays, articles, new writing and artworks inspired by the themes and ideas of EVP, and footage and responses from the touring works, and a series of features from interdisciplinary project The Vox Lab by James Wilkes. The website is designed to foster discussion on the relationships between writing, technology, spirituality and the voice.
Get in touch:

Ross Sutherland – That Name Rings a Bell

Ross Sutherland will divine a new work in spoken word and reclaimed video from the detritus of pop culture and decaying memory.
Ross Sutherland will be performing on all tour dates.

Ross Sutherland

Ross Sutherland was born in Edinburgh in 1979. A former lecturer in electronic literature at Liverpool John Moore’s University, Ross works as a freelance journalist and tutor in creative writing. His first collection, Things To Do Before You Leave Town, was published in 2009, followed by the limited edition mini-book Twelve Nudesin 2010 and the e-book Hyakuretsu Kyaku in 2011. His latest collection is Emergency Window, described by The Independent as ‘lucid observations, smart conceits and insight into the contemporary world as a fragmented, self-constructed thing’. Ross is a member of live literature collective Aisle 16, and has toured nationally and internationally, including solo show Three Stigmata of Pac-Man, collaborative spoken word lecture Found in Translation, and interactive theatre pieces Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke and Hinterland.

Hannah Silva – Total Man

In 1972 Stan Gooch published The Total Man, notes towards an evolutionary theory of personality. This extensive volume spans magic, religion, politics, art, morality and justice. Gooch discusses topics including whether or not Labour MPs have larger ears than Conservatives, and neurotics larger ears than psychotics.
In this new commission, poet, playwright and performer Hannah Silva channels Gooch and explores his story through a musical layering of words, speech, quotations and virtuosic linguistic and vocal play.
Hannah Silva will be performing on all tour dates.

Hannah Silva

Hannah Silva has performed internationally and throughout the UK including at Latitude Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe and on Radio 3’s The Verb. Her solo showOpposition toured 2011-12 and was described in a five star review by What’s on Stage as ‘radical, political, courageous’. Her next play, Hunger will tour Autumn 2013.

Outfit – Judas

Outfit take inspiration from the 1990 trial of Judas Priest, which alleged that backwards messaging in their albums had resulted in the suicides of two American teenagers. Exploring the hidden messages in music and the artform’s potential to manipulate, Outfit combine conventional instrumentation with field recordings, guitar feedback and heavily processed samples. This first extended piece promises to channel the ghosts in their machines; just don’t listen to it backwards.
Outfit will be performing on all tour dates.


Outfit are a band from Liverpool who feed on their formative years in the city’s vibrant experimental music scene to create a unique strain of evocative, left-field pop music. Since their formation two years ago they have shared a stage with artists as diverse as Ladytron, Clinic, Chairlift and Les Savy Fav, played anywhere from a derelict church to the Royal Albert Hall, and recorded sessions for the BBC’s Huw Stephens in Maida Vale Studios. Although most of 2013 will see them playing shows around the UK and mainland Europe in support of their debut album, they’ve teamed up with EVP to tour a special one-off piece.

SJ Fowler – Electric Dada

The sorrowful centenary of Dada looms electric in this eulogy for the lost art of mocking the shrill, shrieking ghoul of the soul-destroying machine of war and commerce. In song, video & poetry, SJ Fowler performs a dead dodo dada language as an attempt at resurrecting a happy ghost.
Electric Dada descends into the realms of electric harm through noise, humour and horror.
SJ Fowler will be performing on all tour dates.

SJ Fowler

SJ Fowler is a poet and artist based in London. He has authored four poetry collections, including Minimum Security Prison Dentistry and performed his work across Europe. He edits the Maintenant series, the Camarade readings and the Enemies project, exploring collaboration and performance across the arts. He has been commissioned / supported by the Tate, the London Sinfonietta and Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

Honor Gavin – 0121 Stimmtausch

The history of telephony is a history of distance and immediacy, lag and overlap; waiting for a connection, cutting in and cutting out. Drawing on telephonic exchanges both past and present on the one hand, and canon or catch construction on the other,0121 Stimmtausch is a piece for multiple voices by writer/musician Honor Gavin.
0121 is the Birmingham dialing code (what you dial when you’re not there);stimmtausch the theoretical term for a voice exchange in music. Excepting the irruptive bleep of the numeral 2, the Birmingham dialing code is also almost but not quite binary, reminding us of the way in which communicative technologies, just like voices, don’t so much succeed each other as overlap.
0121 Stimmtausch is partly inspired by overhearing a group of young boys in Istanbul spread out around a courtyard and each reciting parts of the Qur’an: I heard the undulatory murmur before I saw its source, and had no idea what it was.
Honor Gavin will be performing at St George’s Hall, Liverpool on 15 May and Rich Mix London on 18 May.

Honor Gavin

Honor Gavin is a writer, musician, and academician born in Birmingham and now based in Berlin. Her work includes the multi-media cityscape Midland, the sonic installment of which will be released by the whenwebuildagain collective early next year.

Hetain Patel – I Wanna Be Like You

I Wanna Be Like You is a co-commission between Mercy and Penned in the Margins, and BDE London 2012 Consortium.
Hetain Patel will be performing at The Sage Gateshead on 10 May and Norwich Arts Centre on 25 May.

Hetain Patel

Hetain Patel is a UK-based artist. Conceptually driven, his practice begins with ideas about identity formation through the use of language and physical movement. His work inhabits different forms including photography, video and live performance. His most recent work is Be Like Water.
Watch Hetain Patel’s ‘To Dance Like Your Dad’:

Richard Milward – The Pillow Talk of Robert Desnos

The Pillow Talk of Robert Desnos takes the form of a short, scattershot biography of the poet, psychic shapeshifter, cat lover, concentration camp casualty and champion daydreamer, Robert Desnos (1900-45). Desnos was renowned for his ability to ‘speak surrealist’ at will, conjuring up incredible puns and wordplay, seemingly half asleep, during the Surrealists’ ‘period of sleeps’ in the early 1920s. Combining Desnos’s wordplay of 1923 with Milward’s wordplay of 2013, the piece tells a crackpotted history of the poet who said of himself: ‘My head is like a piggybank in which words, ideas, memories jingle pell-mell. I shake it all up. My mouth releases a coin.’
Richard Milward will be performing at The Sage Gateshead on 10 May and ARC Stocktonon 23 May.
Robert Desnos (1900-45)

Richard Milward
Richard Milward was born in 1984 in Middlesbrough. In April 2007, his debut novelApples (Faber) was published to great critical acclaim. Northern Stage/Company of Angels produced Apples for the stage in 2010, touring it extensively in the UK, including an award-winning stint at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Richard’s second novel Ten Storey Love Song (Faber, 2009) received accolades from the likes of Irvine Welsh and Lauren Laverne. His third novel Kimberly’s Capital Punishment was published in 2012. Richard’s writing has appeared in The FaceDazed & ConfusedThe Guardian,The IndependentArena, .CentViceLoopsLe GunBare BonesIt’s Nice That, and others.

Alan Dunn, Jeff Young and Martin Heslop ‘London Road, 1981′ 

Dunn & Young present excerpts from lost cassette recordings found in the vicinity of the enigmatic ‘RAY + JULIE’ sculpture on London Road during the recent excavation of the Odeon Cinema. A continuation of their ‘Ghost Telegrams’ and ‘Arnold Circus’ works, ‘London Road, 1981′ reignites a specific place through characters – two nineteen year olds listening to Roxy Music in the shadow of St Georges Hall in the early 1980s – to remind us of how quickly times change.
A minimal-duration work for headphone listening stations in the quieter parts of St Georges Hall that look along London Road, co-produced with Martin Heslop.
Dunn & Young have collaborated on a series of soundworks including SuperBlock (BBC Radio 3), Artists’ uses of the word revolution (CD), The Zone (AIR/EAR Radio, Santa Fe) and All the lonely people (ResonanceFM). See Alan’s website for more details

Nathan Jones charts the development of EVP

Posted 19 December 2012 
The Electronic Voice Phenomena story so far…
 Auspicious beginings: a venn diagramme featuring eference points for the first EVP show – Star Trek, Rolf Harris, Gertrude Stein, Chris Packham, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and a Tuvan Throat Singer
EVP is a curatorial strand, and something of a personal obsession, which started out just as a cool name for a show, part of our Overlap programme at Mercy – looking at work that overlaps music, literature and performance art.
The first Electronic Voice Phenomena was the final show of Overlap 2011, described as “A showcase of artists mimicking and manipulating electronic processing in vocal performance”, featuring performances from what for me are remain some of the key thinkers and writers in this area:
Holly Pester, who delivered a new work based on the samples of Majel Barrett, the star ship enterprise voice from Star Trek, a personality she has revisited in one of her awesome Sea Shanties
Mark Leahy, who premiered a highly personal and emotive performance, Voice Recognition: A Play, using Gertrude Stein’s “Identity: A Play” as a model to reminiscence on recordings of himself singing Two Little Boys as a child, available here
Emma Bennett, who performed new developments on her Talking like a bird talking about a bird project, and a piece in which she performed verbatim while listening to three recordings of Chris Packham and other ornitholo-journalists:
and a new work by myself and musician/composer Tom Rea Smith, using an analogue interface to set up a kind of polar opposition between a flow/cut vocal performance (based on perversions of Romantic poems, such as Coleridge’s Kublah Kahn, remixed with contemporary vocabularies and improvised neologisms) and a backing track, causing a static throb to interject between each breath.
These poet/performers were joined on the bill by Soriah, a Tuvan throat singer and performer who, in a kind of temporal short-circuiting, was included because of a resonance his work had, in my mind, with electronic processing. Although it’s clear that a practice perhaps thousands of years old could hardly be called mimicry, temporal flattening actually emerges as one of the most important aspects of EVP practices…
Plus, as part of a collaboration with Holly Pester, I commissioned James Walsh to make this excrutiating computer-voiced version of Cher’s Believe

Around this time also, I led a conversation with my fellow curator Mark Greenwood, and Mark Leahy into some of the inferences of Electronic Voice Phenomena as a theme, SUMMARISED HERE:
emotional truth or falsity, emotional distance, questions of vocal authenticity… [the source of a threatening voice, like a bomb threat]electronic recording, digitisation, transcription, visualisation or broadcast of the human voice… [tells us nothing new about our solar system, but talk about eerie]analysis of recorded voices as part of forensic or criminal investigation… [tackle crime and terrorism as criminals use modern technology]data communication nodes… [a walk-on part in a nursery rhyme is an unlikely fulcrum for the balance of power] forcing intimacy – using electronic processing… [now you see me, now you don’t] overlapping of electric voices; one singing, the other giving instructions, indications and information…[medicine and its use may or may not be approved]experimental approaches of assemblage and chance procedure... [oligonucleotides with a variety of labels, modified linkages, and non-standard bases] synthesisers anddrum machines… [hardcoreand gangsta rap artists pushed the violent content of their raps further] discomfort and horror at hearing one’s voice…[intermingled since God’s creature the horse was placed on this continent]ideas around radio and specifically CB radio… [human nervous system according to the instructions of the manufacturers and a navigational guidethe body freed from the voice… Do we hear something hidden in the recorded voice?…[the worlds first micro recorder that will allow you to record continuously for 4 solid days ]lie detectors… [convert the voice which is an analog signal to a digital signal and then to a voice packeta writer’s voice, a painter’s signature, adding value to a product… [amid the body parts, envelopes stuffed with cash and autopsy results written in English]skin and bone, the meat and sinew dissolved into the electronic trace… [Years of being shunned in Elf-space because of her half-elf, half-human blood]human, supernatural and digital… [an old guy who remembers corded, rotary phones with party lines] communicating on contentious matters via email or telephone… [She looked good that night, better than at the bookstore]move away from intimate form… [the loss of the support of objectively established religion, the dissolution of the last remnants of pre-capitalism] mass ‘electrification’ or the collective ‘spine-tingle’ of a festival audience… [a total of 3 million people, who are not allowed to talk about what they are doing]the 7-second broadcast delay…
As this cloud of thought enveloped everything we were involved in over the next year – several works were instrumental in enriching understandings of the theme. At the time of the first performance, indeed Victoria Gray’s sublimely realised public realm promenade performance, holding a recording of her own voice in a vase as she walked around Liverpool backwards embodied many of the ideas of the discomfort of ones own voice,
And also the fantastically idiocycratic performance by Anat Ben David, who’s work displays cyborg/hybrid voice as a medium, as she works so fluidly with vocals, Kaos pad and AV content. A process which found its truest realisation at Liverpool Biennial this October.

Mercy’s Electronic Voice Phenomena Cafe Oto, Berlin and Liverpool Biennial

Two of the artists who are at the core of the new touring show have been working on the embryonic EVP programme for just over a year. Ross Sutherland and Steven Fowler took vastly differing aspects on the electronic voice, but for me the works chime strongly as a cutting across of much of the ideas we’d be thinking about around compostion and electronics – through a kind of collaborative composition, and a mining through processing and amplification.


During the Biennial producer and writer Vanessa Bartlett produced an excellent series of podcasts for Mercy, including this one on EVP, framing our work alongside that of Kenneth Goldsmith and Ron Athey – artists who I greatly admire.

Biennial Programme

In a weekend of performance, Mercy took the opportunity of working with the UK’s biggest contemporary arts festival to provide a fantastic platform for our commissions, and programmed new work from Iris Garrelfs, Scanner, Hannah Silva and James Wilkes – plus two talks from Dave Tompkins on the vocoder and Joe Banks speaking from his awesome book “Rorschach Audio: art and illusion for sound”.
Read the hype-up here
The weekend hopefully presented a rich and cohesive selection of approaches – I think it also got a lot off my mind regarding the complexity of the theme and the different angles it can be approached from. The weekend had full discussions around vocoders, digital aesthetics, auto-tuning, the séance, phone-tapping, interface collaboration, underground music culture, materiality, and the Thinktank session with visitors from Berlin I think proved that in fact the artists we’d selected where already transcending the theme from the scope and variety of their practices.

Berlin/Think Tank

A research trip to Berlin with artist/writer Sam Skinner documented tentatively here, resulted in several artists coming to Liverpool to discuss EVP with us at a Think Tank, involving: Erik Bunger [Schizophonia = that which makes dogs bark at speakers, children look for the man behind the box and savages demand their captured souls returned.] including references to the terrifying Captain Hardy…
Captain Hardy
Alessandra Eramo [fragility of silence and the pureness of noise] Karl Heinz Jeron[an opera performed by tiny singing robots] Francesco Cavaliere [fantasy, narraive, conversation, ambiguity] Steffi Wiezmann [Isn't it nice to have a computer that will talk to you?] Sam Skinner [evp review of Berlin] Joe Banks Hannah Silva Steven FowlerEmma Bennett Antonia Barnett-McIntosh Vanessa Bartlett Nathan Jones and James Wilkes[anechoic chambers, the splitting of gesture and voice]
Presentations were generously recorded for posterity by Steven Fowler and are available by searching here.
As Steven noted on his blog, it was a real honour to be part of these discussions, “it’s rare to be in the company of so many erudite, established artists who are so humble and open and ready to share and learn and collaborate”.   The collaborations emerging from this Think Tank are set to ignite the next round of Mercy projects, on Technology, Delirium and Psychosis.


What I hope now is that the EVP Tour and online think-space will be able to encapsulate the excitement among artists and audiences alike that I’ve encountered in the last two years of research and practice.
Working with arts producer Penned in the Margins, we’ve been looking at what exactly will excite audiences about the work on this theme. For me, this will be in trying to blend a feeling of the supernatural, and the way in which creativity and augury can seem to flatten temporality and put us ‘beyond time’ in this sense, bringing voices from the past back to life and suggesting futuristic perspectives – and also to produce a show with practitioners who are conversant and ‘at-one’ with their various interfaces and media. A show then, short-circuiting past, present and future.

Unspeakable Telephony: Ulysses

Posted 18 January 2013 
James Joyce gets phone tapped. Honor Gavin publishes the results.
11.00am, 16 June 1904. Stephen Dedalus strolls Sandymount Strand, the strip of sand that skirts the city of Dublin. The day before, across a country and an ocean, a passenger ship called the General Slocum caught fire and sank in New York City’s East River. An estimated 1,021 people died. News of the disaster punctuates the day Stephen, in Dublin, walks through. A character called Father Conmee passes Grogan’s the Tobacconist ‘against which newsboards leaned and told of a dreadful catastrophe in New York’. There’s a remembered conversation between a Kernan and a Crimmins that mentions the disaster as well: ‘Terrible affair that General Slocum explosion. Terrible, terrible! A thousand causalities. And heart-rending scenes.’ The news is a signal in Ulysses of connectivity, of modern communication and its ability to infiltrate a city at speed. But the sunk Slocum also signals death. On Sandymount Strand, around 11.00am, Stephen contemplates the Irish Sea and — as if the cadavers of Slocum’s passengers had bloatedly swum thousands of miles overnight — thinks about a ‘corpse rising saltwhite from the undertow’, about a bundle of ‘corpsegas sopping in foul brine’. Then he sees a midwife come down to the shore ‘flabbily’ and wonders what she has in her bag. ‘A misbirth with a trailing navelcord’ is his mind’s answer. And then, being Stephen Dedalus, Stephen says to himself: ‘The cords of all link back, strandentwining cable of all flesh. That is why mystic monks. Will you be as gods? Gaze in your omphalos. Hello! Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one.’ ‘Aleph’ is the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet; ‘alpha’ the first letter of the Greek. Stephen dials Eden via an aborted umbilical cord with a number that splices Judaic and Christian cultures and then — with its ‘nought, nought, one’ — pulses its way back to the beginning, to there being something rather than nothing. Navel-gazing Stephen (‘omphalos’ is the Greek word for belly-button) gazes through his navel back in time. But, weirdly, this is also a telephone number to the future: if aleph and alpha both stand for first or one, then the code of what Stephen dials is effectively binary, ‘1,1,0,0,1’. Telephone cables are navelcords and codes outgo technology. Everything connects. Everything gets aborted. Connectivity is deadly.
11.00am, 16 June 1904. Leopold Bloom attends the funeral of Patrick Dignam in Glasnevin Cemetery. The gravediggers take up their spades and toss ‘clods of clay in on the coffin’. Bloom can’t bear to watch. ‘And if he was alive all the time? Whew! By jingo, that would be awful!’ There should be some way of checking that the corpse is absolutely dead. They should stab its heart as you do the hearts of vampires — it’s as if Bloom believes that all humans are as morbidly immortal as vampires. ‘Wonder does the news go about whenever a fresh one is let down’, he wonders. ‘Underground communication.’ There should be an ‘electric clock’ buried alongside the body, Bloom thinks. Why? So the poor rotter would know what time it was were he suddenly to wake up? And why an electric clock? What sort of electric clocks were common in 1904? A man called Alexander Bain was granted the first patent for one in 1841, but they weren’t that useful till electricity became more widely available in the 1890s. But then — how would a buried electric clock power its tock? Again, it’s as if Bloom believes all dead bodies are really timebombs, waiting to go off in all manners of the phrase. Later in Ulysses, in the drunken and disorderly Nighttown scenes, the dead corpse of Dignam actually does return, ‘showing a grey scorbutic face’. ‘It is true’, says Dignam in ‘a hollow voice’. ‘It was my funeral’. How is his return to the world possible? ‘By metempsychosis’ answers the ‘ghouleaten’ Dignam: ‘Spooks’. Whether or not he telephoned in advance from his coffin to say he was coming, we never find out.
Noon, 16 June 1904. Bloom, an adman, is in newspaper offices in the northeast quadrant of Dublin. IN THE HEART OF THE HIBERNIAN METROPOLIS (as this section ofUlysses’ opening headline has it) trams shunt, sacks of letters get flung into mailcars, and the GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS gather. A telegram boy delivers an envelope and then steps off ‘posthaste’ — as hastily as the post, as if his own swift body has absorbed the technology of communication. Except that telecommunications are meant to be bodyless, independent of the fast horses that delivered the post in the old days. And so, as if to prove so, the telephone in the inner office whirs and instead of being immediately answered A DISTANT VOICE interrupts things. This voice is not the voice on the telephone because someone is yet to pick up the phone. The voice just hangs there, discombobulated, a story or news item out of context.
The telephone whirred.
– ‘I’ll answer it’, the professor said going.
In ‘Aeolus’, the name of this newspaper section of Ulysses, the imaginary, interspersed headlines all do this: they all hang there, connected to the narrative yet at the same time ‘out of it’, mad, abstract. The gentlemen of the press hear voices.
3pm, 16 June 1904. Many various characters traverse the streets of Dublin, each one a ‘wandering rock’. Their paths are simultaneous, yet separate: this section of Ulyssesis a series of interpolations, scenes that spatially and temporally interlap like simultaneous scenes do in the movies. In one, Blazes Boylan, lover of Bloom’s wife Molly, buys a basket of fruit in a shop called Thornton’s. He flirts outrageously with the girl who serves him. Biting a red carnation, Boylan pokes a peep into the shop girl’s blouse and asks whether he might say a word to her telephone — even if we aren’t sure what precisely the telephone stands in for, Boylan’s comment is definitely, downright dirty. Something to do with pressing the girl’s buttons, or her omphalos, maybe. But the call Boylan places is also another sort of connection — a connection across Dublin, and across the text of Ulysses. After an interspersed scene featuring Stephen, we skip to the office of Boylan’s secretary, Miss Dunne. Hiding ‘the Capel street library copy of The Woman in White far back in her drawer’ (does she consider Wilkie Collins a bit fruity?) and rolling ‘a sheet of gaudy notepaper into her typewriter’, she clicks ‘16 June 1904’ into the keyboard and then by her ear the telephone rings ‘rudely’. The telephone rings rudely: by way of telephone cables, Boylan’s roguish comment has morphed into a rude, discordant sound. Is this the metempsychosis of voices? And why are disembodied voices dirty?
Midnight, 16 June 1904. Nighttown. The brothel. The scene is lewd and hallucinatory. ‘In a medley of voices’ a chorus formed from ‘THE SINS OF THE PAST’ comes to haunt Leopold Bloom. Amongst the sins enumerated is this one: ‘Unspeakable messages he telephoned mentally to Miss Dunn at an address in D’Olier Street while he presented himself indecently to the instrument in the callbox’. Disembodied voices are dirty, this suggests, because disembodied voices are bodily: disembodied voices areanybody’s. But Bloom’s sin is itself contradictory. Are not telephone messages by their very nature eminently speakable? Or is it because Bloom imagined saying exactly nothing into ‘the instrument’ — maybe just ‘unspeakably’ breathing very heavily — that what he thought about is ‘unspeakable’? Is the Miss Dunn he mentally telephoned the same Miss Dunne aforementioned, Blazes Boylan’s secretary, divested of the silent ‘e’ of her name? Does this divesting suggest that Bloom only knows Miss Dunn sonically, vocally, that he has never seen her name written down? Whether Miss Dunn/e ever got Bloom’s messages, just as whether Dignam ever telephoned from his underground digs, we don’t know. But we do, by now, know this: telephony is dirty, deadly, bodily, disembodied, discombobulated, mad, quick. Telephony is dead. Telephony lives fast.
Honor Gavin is a writer, musician, and academician born in Birmingham and now based in Berlin. Her work includes the multi-media cityscape Midland, the sonic installment of which will be released by the whenwebuildagain collective early next year. She is creating a new work for the EVP programme, 0121 Stimmtausch.

Describing Silence (6 Distortions)

Posted 12 April 2013 
In June last year, I managed to spend an hour in UCL’s anechoic chamber. This space is one of the quietest places in the city, if not in the world: isolated from all external sounds through thick insulation and a ‘floating floor’, its inside walls are covered in fibreglass wedges to prevent any noise you make from reflecting back to you. The Speech Communication Lab use this space to record stimuli without any contaminating noise; for me, it was a strange acoustic environment that I wanted to explore. And so I sat in there for 20 minutes with the lights off, listening, and then tried to recall the strange half-hallucinated aural ecosystem that a living body produces and that the absence of all other sound had allowed me to hear. You can listen to an extract from my rambling monologue here:
To create the series of poems that follow, I treated this source material by transcribing it and then reading it aloud into my computer’s speech-to-text converter. As the machine translated speech back into text, it introduced errors which I allowed to propagate, and added to with my own mishearings and deviations. Over a number of generations, this produced the following series, which I think of as restoring lost resonances and reverberations to the first text, produced as it was in the acoustically ‘dry’ context of the anechoic room.
- James Wilkes


So there’s a sort of phasing sound to the, to the right
almost like sound behind the scenes, almost like a sound
Like might sound sound, remains of something metallic
It’s very very quiet but it’s there. And it’s, it’s kind of phasing in and out
And I was getting almost like an, almost like a linen linnet call which was kind of quite highly
Armed against the right, but not quite high up. It was a sort of Crete twittering sound
Quite faint but it was really persistent like a sort of dawn chorus, or something that was going on and on.
And then I heard my stomach vehicle
And then I started getting an heart of gold, I and Neil young, was just kind of playing out in my head
and that was kind of annoying and I couldn’t stop it
And I think that was cos I remembered I heard it on the radio this morning
he’s got quite, quite a whiny voice. And that was just kinda fun playing up
Waiting for a hard and cold
Like that arm, which is, which is irritating
So there’s a sort of pheasant sounding to the, to the right
sound behind the curtains almost like a, like a sound
Like might sound sound, bouncing onto something metallic
It’s very very quiet because it’s there. And it’s this kind of phasing in and out
And I was getting almost like a, almost like their linseed oil call, which was kind of quite
Armed against the right, a sort of creature’s twittering sound or
Quite faint but it was really persistent like a sort of dawn french or something
and then I, then I heard my Subaru
And then I started a heart of gold attack and Neil young was kind of playing out my head
And that was kind of annoying and I couldn’t. Stop it
And I think that was cos I remembered I heard it on the radio this morning
And that was just kinda fun plainchant time
Waiting for a hard unfold
Like that arm which is, which is irritating
So there’s a sort of sandpit sand to the, to the right
Sound behind the curtains almost like a sound
Like might pounds sound or um, or a pressure attack
It’s, and it’s very very minor because Neil’s there and he’s this kind of sealskin in and out
And I was getting almost like a, almost like their sealed oil call which was kind of quite
Bagpipes against the right. A sort of creature of scripture and sound
Quiet, thinking it was really persistent, like a sort of French polish of something
And then I heard my superior um
And then I started a denial of gold attack and the youngster was kind of playing in my head
And that was kind of annoying. Can you stop it?
Nothing else could I remember was very um, I heard on the radio this morning
And that was just kinda fun kind of almost like a plane tree whistling, waiting
Waiting for a hard and cold
By the arm, by the hairs which is irritating
So this is the sandpit – the, almost the mudflats to the right
Sound behind the curtains in the slightest sound
Like the soundest pounds in wartime for the pressure
It’s, it’s very very minor because Neil’s their analyst. A kind of serious cleaning out
Another thing almost. Like almost like seals will call which is kind of a spit
Like bagpipes against the rights of creatures for, for sensation and sound
Quiet fins in the persistent noise of French polish have something
And then I heard my, my almost superior
Inner started a denial of gold at her and at the youngsters playing in my head
And hours, at um nine can you stop it
Nothing else I could remember was very young, very kind of ahead on the radio this morning
A kinder farm is almost like a plane tree whistling waiting
Waiting for a home told like that, like
By the arm, by the heritage it’s irritating
So there’s a sort of a face in the sand-dunes to the right
A sound behind, a sort of like a tunnel at the slightest sound
But the soundest pound is creep-creeping down for the pressure
Like a sort of minah bird or something because neither serves that serious cleaning out
Another thing, almost like, almost like seals will call as a mark of respect
Clydebank hopes against the rights of creatures for a sense, a sensational sound
Quiet things in the persistent noise of a, a Republican polis or something
And then I heard my mother almost superior
And started at another goal there and the canisters playing in my head
And ours, at nine can use the, the stomach gurgle
Nothing else, I was very young, very kind of ahead of the radio this morning
A kind of rubbed crackle almost like a tree waiting
Waiting for a home goal line by line
By the arm, by the heritage incident at last
So there’s a sort of face of Monteverdi to the right
A sound behind, a sort of like a tidy up sound, the slightest sound
But the old town’s discreet creeping down for the pressure
Letters should have minded lettuce there, that serious um, serious cleaning out
An almost like wax seal, almost like an eel’s seal that marks the respect
Quite faint hopes against the right creature for a sense of, almost of gold
Quiet things, quit things and the persistent noise of their politicians and
And then I heard my mother almost whisper
And started another goal then the canisters playing in my head
And there is a nice clean, almost mud-track for their the off-road vehicle
And nothing else. I was very much, very kind of ahead of the radio this morning
The kind of red cattle and Mr. Petrie waiting
Waiting for her own goal line by line
By the arm by the wrecked heritage incident, at last

Instructions for Catch* Construction

Posted 18 April 2013 

Honor Gavin explores three ways in to her piece 0121 Stimmtausch, which she is developing for Electronic Voice Phenomena.

*Catch, n. 14. Music. Originally, a short composition for three or more voices, which sing the same melody, the second singer beginning the first line as the first goes on to the second line, and so with each successive singer; a round. ‘The catch was for each succeeding singer to take up or catch his part in time’ (Grove). Subsequently specially applied to rounds in which the words are so arranged as to produce ludicrous effects, one singer catching at the words of another (OED)


In the second half of his autobiographical Confessions, Augustine of Hippo goes meta. After a series of chapters devoted to the story of his early years, adolescence, education and eventual conversion, the African bishop switches from narration to a form of auto-analysis. What is this thing called ‘memory’, by which Augustine has been able to recollect his former experiences? What is this thing called ‘time’, in which those experiences occurred and which has moreover been passing whilst Augustine has been recounting? What a long time has indeed passed, Augustine remarks, even whilst he has been talking about time! What is time? Is it nothing but the things we measure it by, such as the solar loops of the sun and planets? No, says Augustine. Instead he keeps on trying to think about time by thinking about voices and the sounds they make. ‘For example’, Augustine says, ‘a physical voice begins to sound. It sounds. It continues to sound, and then ceases. Silence has now come, and the voice is past. There is no sound. Before it sounded it lay in the future. It could not be measured because it did not exist; and now it cannot be measured because it has ceased to be.’ A few pages later he asks us to think about what’s going on when we remember a psalm by heart and then recite it. What he says now makes it seem as if it is by tongues and tonsils vibrating that time gets sucked out of the future, as if it is by bodies throatily gurgling, swallowing air, and sounding that the world turns and time happens. ‘Before I begin’ to recite this psalm of mine, says Augustine, ‘my expectation is directed towards the whole. But when I have begun, the verses from it which I take into the past become the object of my memory. The life of this act of mine is stretched in two ways, into my memory because of the words I have already said and into my expectation because of those which I am about to say. But my attention is on what is present: by that the future is transferred to become the past.’ By reciting I suck the psalm from the future into the present — and yet, since I know the psalm by heart, the future was also surely a memory. By a series of glottal catches, the commonplace stuttering of our breath stream, the future is sucked into the present, swallowed, and restored to memory. Someone humming is the sound of time coming out of the future. To beat, you need to breathe first. Reading Augustine, it doesn’t surprise me to learn to that the etymology of psyche has to do with breathing.


I dreamed last night of 0121, the code for the city of my early years and adolescence. These days I live overseas, so it’s no surprise that the dream began with a sea journey. The ship was cramped and dirty. The captain tried to make me sleep in a bed that someone had recently died in — I could see their imprint still in the mattress — but, horrified at the thought, I refused to. Instead I ran up the wooden stairs and discovered the existence of luxurious quarters from which I had been excluded. These turned out to be located in an exact replica of my secondary school’s assembly hall. I went to school in Handsworth, Birmingham. We used to hum collectively whenever a teachers’ back was turned. Such jokes made the break come more quickly, maybe. Anyway, in my dream I discovered a telephone sat silently in the school’s corridor. Just like I did the first time I ever went abroad without my parents — and just like E.T. too — I tried to phone home, but made an error with the area code. Instead of my mom, an old man answered and started speaking into my ear strangely, shiveringly. It wasn’t the voice of Brian Cobby — ‘speaking clock’ of my youth — that much I knew. I continued listening for a while then, overwhelmed when suddenly I realised the man was speaking backwards, smashed the handset down and desperately tried to recall the correct number. The phone before me was a rotary dial, with letters as well as numbers. We had these kind of phones in my house when I was small, but by then the letters were already useless — I never knew anything but all-figure dialing, and always wondered what ABC had to do with 2, what DEF had to do with 3, and what would happen if I spelt out certain words by sticking my fingers into the perforations and spinning. And why did 6 only have two accompanying letters — M and N but no O as expected? I tried again to remember the correct area code. Inside cities, codes used to be letters: MIDland 3240, I found out recently, was the telephone number listed in the directory for my great-grandfather’s rubber waterproofs shop in central Birmingham. A few names down from his was a number for an Undtkrs: ASTon Cross 1696. My mom used to use my gran’s telephone number for our house’s alarm password, I remembered, but it wasn’t my gran that I was trying to contact. At this point my dream went meta. In the dream, I became interested in the materials being used to build the dream. In the dream, I remembered how I had been born not long after someone had died, and I felt terribly sad that I hadn’t done what the ship’s captain had wanted. I twisted the telephone’s cord around my finger — the cord was spiral — and looked out of a glassless window. The city beyond my school was not as I recalled it. Instead the city was as it was before I had been born in it. Here was the Bull Ring before they filled it with concrete then demolished the concrete and built the Bullring. And here was a tram totally unlike the Midland Metro that today connects Birmingham with West Bromwich. In my dream, the tram was plastered with monochrome advertisements, but the landscape it passed through was Technicolor. And that – my dreaming dream now knew — was why the old man had spoken backwards. That was something I needed to listen again to. The man had spoken like that — my dreaming dream knew — to teach me that technology isn’t modernity: technology is time’s mixture, many presents embedded together, turbulence, an Extra-Terrestrial advanced enough to land on Earth trying to phone home with an instrument assembled from a Speak and Spell, a coffee tin, and an umbrella.


J Dilla, also known as Jay Dee or by his full name, James Dewitt Yancey, assembled most of Donuts in a Los Angeles hospital bed. The record was released three days before his death from a rare blood disease in 2006. Donuts is essentially a series of hip-hop instrumentals; many of the supremely selected samples have themselves since been sampled. ‘Time: the Donut of the Heart’ creases 1975‘s ‘All I Do Is Think Of You’ by The Jackson 5 into “Sweet” Charles Sherrell’s ‘Yes It’s You’ of 1974 and was used by The Roots in 2006’s ‘Can’t Stop This’. ‘Lightworks’, a track that runs to just under two minutes in total, takes its name and main material from an electronic jingle written for a cosmetics company by American composer and electronic music pioneer, Raymond Scott. Scott started off in Swing, worked as a pianist for CBS radio, mostly composed not on paper but via phrases hummed to his band, and in 1946 established ‘Manhattan Research’, which in Scott’s words was ‘a dream centre where the excitement of tomorrow is made available today’. Electronic telephone ringers numbered amongst sonic inventions such as the Clavivox and the Electronium. According to Scott, the latter composed by artificial intelligence. Listen to Dilla’s ‘Lightworks’then listen to Scott’s, then listen again to Dilla’s. Listen to how Dilla’s beats catch and catch at Scott’s electronic bubbles and vice versa. Think about what YouTube commentators might mean when they say Scott was Dilla before Dilla. And as you are listening, likewise think about the following lines from Augustine’s Confessions, which for Augustine are a way of explaining the very making of heaven and earth: ‘When a song is sung, the sound is heard simultaneously. It is not that unformed sound comes first and is then shaped into song. Any sound that is made first passes away, and you will find no remnant of it which you can recover to impart coherence to it with artistic skill. That is why a song has its being in the sound it embodies, and its sound is its matter. The matter is given form to be a song. In this sense, as I was saying, the matter of making sound is prior to the form of singing. The priority does not consist in the potentiality to make song. The sound is not the maker causing the singing, but is provided by the body for the singer’s soul to turn into song. It is not prior in time. It is emitted at the same time as the song.’ Learn how to construct a catch for three voices or more.

Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomena

Posted 22 April 2013 
In Willem Levelt’s Speaking: From Intention to Articulation, I came across a description of the ‘Tip-of-the Tongue’ state, the name for that common experience of being almost but not quite able to remember a word. Levelt is interested in what happens when the TOT state is brought about in experiments; he uses the example of the word ‘sextant’. ‘Subjects’, he writes, ‘tended to guess /s/ as the initial phoneme and two as the number of syllables,’ whilst ‘sound-related words like secantand sextet’ and ‘meaning-related words, e.g. compass’, also occurred. In this series of poems, I tried to hold myself in that Tip-of-the-Tongue state as I ‘wrote through’ a series of early and mid-80s top ten hits. Click on ‘TARGET’ to hear the sources.
- James Wilkes


ok so it’s something like
asses for assam
fun run for funding
ants for antoine
friends for friendship
think of the military
tealeaf smokers
clagging the mouth
dusty powder
with altitude sickness
look at the stars
and was it –
getting all weepy
and low
was it?


pins are…in!
pigs are…in!
laughter is the best
if you’re not being laughed at
then it goes
dumbo’s venture
dumbo’s big adventure
very well dressed and manifestly fit
no not pins it’s more
pink salami
pincer movement
or even peas
it’s possible
under the bed
but more masculine
than that


it goes
aye doe… aye doe
aye doe cash advance
france wither maybe namur
no. start again.
you got sam’s eyebrows
browse in a safety net, or
you damn warner bros
brush up your bentley no more
well anyway it’s something about
losing all my limbs
and it’s negative affect
negative affect


an umbilical girl
the kind of girl gets
special deliveries
by private courier
in a brown van
that’s her world
all ‘upton country park’ mate
peacocks and deer
that’s the ambience not
the mechanics and dockers of
the old clinic


it’s /n/
it’s /n/
it’s numerous, a number of, of
Rhenish ballads gone bad, like
a nightly mind…reading tool
a rubberised cloud or
something like an airline?
it’s /n/ and /n/, it’s a noise anointed
a rebel tune


it’s got his spry tone
kind of dry and low
like a deccan lion
high, low then stays low
it’s got a wry sound
maybe bright sound
like a mecca bingo
bright down-town sound
it zips me my bones
labile overcoat
spike and groove shiver
smooth ground globe shot


it was a /r/
it was a /r/
it was a roastbeef butty
a rustbelt
some kind of berry
uhh… fruit sorbet
kind of pink fruit
on her head
a rose
buried beneath
a king
the kindness you find
in a strange land

Better night vision, more vegetarianism: Stan Gooch’s Total Man

Posted 24 April 2013

In the first in a new series of blogs, writer and journalist Sarah Lesterinvestigates the strange story behind paranormal researcher Stan Gooch and his magnus opus Total Man.

The mark of greatness is always intuition, not logic
(Colin Wilson World)
Towards the end of his life the psychologist and paranormal researcher Stan Goochlived in isolation and poverty in a rented caravan in Swansea. Hailed as a pioneering visionary and criminally underrated writer by a smattering of followers – including high-profile, outsider philosopher Colin Wilson – the rest of the world pretty much ignored him. He became increasingly disillusioned and carried his grievances about his work’s peripheral status to his deathbed. And, perhaps, beyond.
Gooch gave up a successful academic career in child psychology to embark on an eleven-book, half century-long odyssey of oddness. In part, Gooch’s change in direction can be attributed to a cave man figure which he sensed in the corner of a room during one of his early extra-sensory experiments. If nothing else Gooch’s life story can be taken as a cautionary tale about the perils of straying outside the accepted guidelines of modern science. As Noel Rooney states in the Fortean Timesobituary: ‘Gooch’s life and career constitute a grim reminder of what can befall those who venture from academically safe topics into the wilderness of damned data.’ [FT727, March 2011].
If Gooch is remembered in any way, it will be as the proponent of hybrid origin theory – an original concept which posited that interbreeding between Neanderthalsand Cro-Magnons explained the roots of all conflict and even the dual nature of human culture itself. Naturally this division extended to politics too, and Gooch insisted that left-wing movements were expressions of our Neanderthal instincts, whilst right-wing movements were Cro-Magnon-driven.
Should you need any help identifying left-leaning types here’s a list of traits – compiled by Gooch – to look out for. When compared to members of the Conservative party, they show:
  • higher incidence of left-handedness
  • shorter average height
  • greater incidence of big toe being shorter than the other toes
  • less male pattern baldness (it’s a fact that left-handed men almost never go bald)
  • better night vision
  • more short-sightedness
  • more vegetarianism
  • more sexual activity and promiscuity
  • more lesbianism, homosexuality and pædophilia
  • greater incidence of the pyknic body type
  • greater incidence of the recessive chin and sloping forehead
  • more time spent dreaming when asleep
  • a larger cerebellum
(Source: Fortean Times)
[Disclaimer: Whilst the above list may offend for various reasons, as a short, left-handed vegetarian, I’d like to point out that Gooch actually saw Neanderthal instincts as desirable.]
Ironically, just weeks before Gooch’s death, discoveries were made by geneticists which proved that up to four per cent of the human genome is Neanderthal. To nobody’s surprise Gooch’s theory was not mentioned in conjunction with any scientific reports on this breakthrough. Nature magazine doubtlessly found aspects of Gooch’s work a tad too speculative to endorse.
For poet Hannah Silva, who salvaged Gooch’s book Total Man from her university library’s reject pile, it was exactly the strange mixture of the orthodox and the damned that has compelled her to use Gooch’s writing in a new performance for Electronic Voice Phenomena. With a strong emphasis on intuition over logic and innumerable leaps of faith Hannah recognised that the book was brimming with potential. Especially when combined with Gooch’s claim that he was able to enter into a full trance or produce automatic writing at will, in any place, in any circumstances.
In the opening chapter of The Paranormal, Gooch describes how as a 26 year-old he discovered a previously untapped gift as a medium. The experience, he says, reached such levels of intensity that it was as if a dam or barrier had suddenly collapsed. This new found flow provided what Gooch termed a ‘gateway to wonders’. Similarly, as Hannah loops and piles up ideas, words and sounds that relate to Gooch’s life and work for her performance, she will create her own portal through which to experiment with a form of communication that exists beyond the conventions of language. She originally used Total Man to create a short cut-up poem about being left-handed. Now she has been drawn back to Gooch’s work and the gateway is wide open.
As part of her research Hannah has been in touch with Dr. Brent Logan, who had a long correspondence with Gooch in the later part of his life. Dr. Logan said of his correspondent:
Stan’s letters reveal to me how early his doldrums descended yet he indulged them – in equilibrous frisson – for decades, a grim balance or existential challenge between that unique Neanderthal awareness versus the trailer park terminus so long inhabited….pathetic, grousing, but crankily heroic, a bleak nobility
Gooch refused repeated offers from people who wanted to buy him a computer and turned down valuable introductions to major players in the field of radical anthropology.  He stubbornly insisted the only thing that would lift him out of hard times was a dramatic change of situation, or major stimulus (such as a Nobel Prize!).  When Gooch died on Monday 13th September 2010 he was distinctly lacking in accolades. Still, even in death, he was able to vindicate his belief that Monday 13th held potent psychic significance.

Photograph by Simon S. Brighton

Subliminal messages: Judas Priest and the mythology of suicide

Posted 1 May 2013 

Sarah Lester investigates the story behind Judas – a new musical work by synth-pop group Outfit, inspired by the Judas Priest suicide trial.

Mythology, music and self-annihilation have a long and tangled history. The fatal lure of dulcet tones can be traced back as far as the 8th century BC when Homerexplained the disappearance of seamen by way of Sirens’ irresistible – but perilous – melodies. The Odyssey’s mythological creatures weren’t officially tried for emitting harmful subliminal messages in their music, but their corrupting influence on the minds of nautical males was, as far as epic poetry goes, undisputed.
Advances in sound recording technology brought about a new kind of deadly music mythology. From Gloomy Sundaya song composed by Hungarian Rezso Seress that is so bleakly miserable it’s rumoured to have induced over a hundred suicides (including Seress’s own), to the scapegoating of Marilyn Manson in the wake of the Columbine High School Massacre, the links between music and self-destruction have become increasingly pronounced and complex during the last century.
The Hungarian Suicide Song:
For one, self-appointed moral guardians and frenzied media outcries have been quick to blame various types of music subcultures for the otherwise hard-to-explain actions of wayward youths. The suicide cults of teenaged emo-lovers, metallers’ devil worship, the school murder of a sword-wielding Slipknot fan – have all been attributed to misguided music preferences and the associated negative impact on impressionable young psyches.
Bands have also been known to relay messages to their fans in less overt ways. A recording technique known as backmasking (backwards masking – where a sound or message is recorded backwards on to a track that is meant to be played forwards) led to circuses of controversy – most famously through the Satan-worshipping references allegedly audible when Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven is played in reverse.
The paranoia surrounding music subcultures reached an unparalleled level of hysteria in the 1980s when America’s growing Christian right wing came head to head with ‘nihilistic’, ‘unchristian’ heavy metal. The joint attempted suicide of two metal fans – 18-year-old Raymond Belknap and 20-year-old James Vance – who placed a shotgun to their heads after drinking heavily and listening to the British heavy metal band Judas Priest, culminated in the infamous subliminal messaging trial of 1990.
Whilst Belknap died instantly, Vance took the same gun, which was slippery and thickly covered in his friend’s blood, and somehow survived the self-inflicted shot, albeit with a large part of his face now missing. The grisly events led the boys’ parents to allege that a subliminal, backwards message of “Do it” hidden in Judas Priest’s song Better by You Better Than Me had caused the boys’ suicidal impulse. Of course, without an antecedent, the phrase in questions could apply to absolutely anything – from running a marathon to catching butterflies, but, still, the trial went ahead.
The high-profile case, which unfolded in Reno, Nevada, set a legal precedent by drawing on the largely unsubstantiated claims of fringe ‘experts’ in subliminal perception. Wilson Key, the main proponent of the subliminal advertising myth andHoward Shevrin, a psychologist who specialised in subliminal influences were brought in to support the plaintiffs’ claims.
The judge gave particular weight to Shevrin’s statement that the subliminal message “Do it” was influential precisely on account of its subliminality, whilst bizarrely he gave equal credence to another witness, Mrs Rusk, a school counsellor, who testified that Vance had expressed conscious awareness of the presence and nature of the message.  As the band themselves have adroitly explained, the contradictory logic running through the case extends to the fact that rather than extolling listeners to kill themselves, subliminal messages in their music were much more likely to have implored their fans to “buy more records”.
The tendency to blame subcultures for acts of self-slaughter perpetuates a cultural dishonesty that overlooks music’s fundamental ability to unite. As Liverpool-based band Outfit will attest in their exploration of the Judas Priest trial for EVP, recorded sound can be manipulated in multifarious ways. Is it socially responsible to blame suicide on the one thing the victim loved?
Judas Priest

Synchronicity: Ross Sutherland and the Poetry of the Crystal Maze

Posted 13 May 2013 by 

Juggling two inputs – poet Ross Sutherland insists – is better than gawping unflinchingly at one. Taking as much inspiration from Oulipo techniques as he does from Bill Murray’s unenviable predicament in Groundhog Day, Ross has been using processes of synchronicity, and his Grandad’s old VHS tape, to create a new, quasi-hypnotic poetic form.

Sarah Lester spoke to him just before EVP’s opening night at The Sage Gateshead to find out more:


SL: How do the two pieces you’re currently working on – Stand by for the Tape Back up and That Name Rings a Bell - relate to each other?

RS: Stand by for the Tape Backup, my new one man show for Edinburgh, and my piece for the EVP project, That Name Rings a Bell, are based on the same processes – they both use this video tape that belonged to my Grandad and focus on tiny audio-visual loops from it.  The audience are faced with two inputs – me talking and the screen behind me. In some ways Stand by for the Tape Backup has become a kind of eulogy for my Grandad, but with my piece for EVP, it’s more like trying to open up a dialogue with him.

SL: So this is your own way of contacting the dead?

RS: Exactly. So a lot of what happens in the course of the piece, is me talking about the process of seances and why they don’t work. We can’t contact the spirit world. If my Grandad exists now, he’s a version that exists inside my head. But that’s not to say that the pattern-generating part of the brain can’t start to make connections through the power of synchronicity.

SL: But through being open with your methods you’re debunking the idea of voices from beyond?

One of the nice things about the clip I’m using for this piece [of The Crystal Maze] is that it’s footage of someone failing to do a task. A lady has a really simple puzzle to complete, all she has to do is to connect up a giant battery. But all her teammates are shouting out instructions and she screws it up. She doesn’t understand what she has to do.
Failure, messing things up, is really central to this piece. We’re not supposed to contact the dead but we try to anyway. I wanted to look at the shortcomings of the seance. In a classic seance you’d ask the spirit a question and a bell would ring in response. One of the final things I say in this piece is “whenever that bell fails to ring, it’s me”.

All of your work seems to have recursive elements. Why are you so drawn to the concept of the time loop?

It’s definitely something I’ve become more fascinated with. When I first started doing poetry onstage – it did feel like I was trapped in a sort of time loop, or a Groundhog Day.  There’s a false impression when you only see a show once and the performer has all the perfect responses to what’s going on. It’s like “how is the brain so fast that it can pick up on all those cues?” but you don’t get to see that insane level if repetition that goes into it.

So you thought you might as well embrace that repetition?

Using a circular time structure is a very addictive way to work. When you see the footage so many times and it’s something so well known you quickly forget the original message and it dissolves into this symbolic visual language.  The first time you watch it you’re not going to be familiar with it but then you see it again and you begin to notice some of the details in the background, and then you come to see it again and experience it on a more thematic level.
Once you’ve watched something repeatedly you have multiple interpretations of what everything means and I just find that a really interesting way to write. It’s ridiculously slow and you start to feel like a paranoiac. You see how easy it is to become obsessive. You start to tell a story over the top of this bit of footage, then you start to notice there are parallels where there weren’t any before.

Are you trying to turn the audience into paranoiacs too?

I’d like to leave the audience in a state where they are feeling hypersensitive.  I start the piece with the old experiment where you play the Wizard of Oz and synchronise it with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. When you play two artworks side by side you start to notice similarities between them, whether or not they’re intended.  The audience can decide for themselves where the symbolism fits.
I suppose the test comes down to the performance tonight. It’s a really important part of the creative process because you can only really finish the work once there’s an audience in front of it. There’s a degree of collaboration to get that balance right between signal and noise.

Munster Page Habit 2 by Mark Leahy

Posted 18 May 2013 by  | Comments (0)
on being spoken through as conduit for sticky words
[For Muster Page Habit 2, I propose an intersection of speech / thought and vocalisation that teases together a sensing of language as speaking through the body, that performs a talking that is thrown from the speaker outwards to a public / for a public / making public in the hope of hearing by hearers. The project considers agency and subjecthood as audited in textual representation. Tracking through word and sound it crossesBeckett's Lucky, the novels of Christine Brooke-Rose, William James' writing on consciousness and speech, the essays ofHeinrich von Kleist, and Avital Ronell's The Telephone Book.]
Who do we hear here in this speaker? Who/what makes this public speech phenomenon? In saying I am hearing, I hear and say what adheres to and modulates what is heard. The performer’s body conducts electric speech converted from digital data derived from text input, his mouth an outlet for noise at the end of a looping transmission process. Are we (but) speakers? Am I (today) the same (speaker), that I was yesterday? Am I a mouthpiece for / of tropes and strings of given language that stream through me, through my processing centres and sound formation structures and means of amplification.
No one can hear a word except inside my head and in the spheric empty space immediately around. The acoustics cork the space, the microphone has died, the sound-waves can’t get through the layers of my atmosphere. I talk in silent bubbles like a goldfish in a bowl, contort myself in gestures but the crowd soon tire of circles, triangles and squares. (Brooke-Rose, Such, 249)
The speaking human (I) that is listened to (heard) conveys linguistic matter gathered elsewhere (not-I) and delivers this to (you) the listening (hearing) public. Projected or thrown in your direction, lassoed from beyond from before from above outside otherwhere, clinging to a marionette wire charged oppositionally pulling to it threads of textual detritus traces of talk or transcribed strands.
As if languages loved each other behind their own façades, despite alles was man denkt darüber davon dazu. As if words fraternised silently behind the syntax, finding each other funny and delicious in a Misch-Masch of tender fornication, inside the bombed out hallowed structures and the rigid steel glass modern edifices of the brain. (Brooke-Rose, Between, 447)
Materials of telephony, telegraphy, translations, transmission, emission, occupy the performer’s body. That body is present to the audience as a speaking device modulating and relaying talk talk that has become sticky smeared by traffic through webby clouds and tagging nets. This talk talk rewords the adherence of web association linking and noding that colours the public face faced outward or trailed behind for later readers or immediate reception.
divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames (Beckett, 42)
Lucky in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is a figure of speech, producing speech on command, apparently as product and evidence of thinking, as “pensée parlée” (or “spoken thought”) as Andre Breton describes it in his first Surrealist Manifesto. This speech is switched on or off depending on whether Lucky is or is not wearing his hat. Its form may draw on automatic writing and the speech of aphasics or others whose use of language manifests ‘formal thought disorder’. (c.f. Sardin and Germoni, 742)
if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast and considering what is more that as a result of the labours left unfinished crowned (Beckett, 42)
In Brooke-Rose’s Between the central character, the voice or observer whom we as readers spend most time with, operates in and across languages, repeating patterns of activity and thought in shifting environments that differ in their language and auditory texture.
At any moment now some bright or elderly sour no young and buxom chambermaid in black and white will come in with a breakfast-tray, put it down on the table in the dark and draw back the curtains unless open the shutters and say buenos días, Morgen or kalimera who knows, it all depends where sleeping has occurred out of what dream shaken up with non merci nein danke no thank you in a long-lost terror of someone offering etwas anderes, not ordered. (Between, 396)
She moves about Europe and elsewhere, as brand names, signs, instructions and directions pop into focus or come to notice. And then the text moves on, turning over different currencies, different taps and bathroom arrangements for conducting liquids and carrying away waste. Grammatical relations are considered, and linguistic theory folded into gendered intercourse.
Et comme l’a si bien dit Saussure, la langue peut se contenter de l’opposition de quelque chose avec rien. The marked term on the one hand, say feminine, grande, the unmarked on the other, say, the masculine, grand. Mais notez bien que le non-marqué peut dériver du marqué par retranchement, by subtraction, par une absence qui signifie. Je répète, une absence qui signifie eine Abwesenheit die simultaneously etwas bedeutet. (Between, 426)
The interpreter works in and with these languages, but in a sense they pass through her, leaving little trace behind.
How do you mean everything? Oh, archeology, medicine, irrigation, economic aid for the under-developed areas and so forth. Goodness, do you work it up in advance? A bit, yes. At least the relevant jargon. But one soon learns, and then forgets, you see one has to understand immediately because the thing understood slips away, together with the need to understand. (Between, 468)
And she is left somewhat adrift in this international multilingual environment of hotels and airports and conference centres, anchorless, disconnected.
Where when and to whose heart did one do that? Do what and what difference does it make? None except by subtraction from the marked masculine and unmarked feminine or vice versa as the language of a long lost code of zones lying forgotten under layers of thickening sensibilities creeps up from down the years into no more than the distant brain way up to tickle an idle thought such as where when and to whose heart did one do that? (Between, 468)
In Such, the central figure has ‘died’ and recovered, and in his revival must renegotiate his functioning in and interface with language.
They cannot hear the words that rebound in my head but I can hear their grumbles, groans, hisses, yells, their slow clapping and stamping of feet. Then the bull comes in, hoofing up cosmic dust, aiming straight at me with his huge and pointed horns. I hold my terror out at him and plead with sentences that curl around him and bounce off the crowd in rhythm like a drum. I contort myself, create situations, strike attitudes and make circular gestures in wild colours. (Such, 249)
He re-encounters friends and family, the familiar now foreign, and struggles to articulate the verbal textual exoskeleton that supports his knowing / unknowing of them.
Yet something emanates out of his small corona in the mad morse of neural cells that races round in no space, no privacy, his silence says, and receives at once the radiated objection well, you didn’t have to enter during my presence or let your scientific skin get peeled away. I know, however, how it happens, the worms in your head squirm as the world you see in even the gentlest creature sharpens its beak, so that the programme in your giant computer-mind gets blocked, goes blank of calculations, cries like a child of three. (Such, 270)
Referencing his wife’s work as a scientist, and the studies of colleagues from different academic disciplines, and his own practice as an analyst, the language environment through which Larry, the central figure, must navigate, tracks through a mesmerising swirl of associations.
We do our best, he says. We tap the silent telephones of outer space, we bounce our questions on the galaxies which answer out of aeons. But they give no names, no explanations, only infinities of calculations. You on the other hand give names to the complex geometries of the soul, you explain perhaps, but do you heal, within space-time I mean. These maps represent something, certainly, but not the ultimate mystery of the first creation that has gone forever with its scar inside one huge unstable atom. You can’t photograph such means of communication. (Such, 271)
When entered onto the web, made public, published, to any utterance will attach associations and expectations of the hearers / speakers, and to any input / output online will attach associations and expectations of the search and/or transmission codes utilised. These adherences cluster to the text as data, as records, as traces and histories, and are read by a receiver (conscious or not) and come to form part of the public persona(lity) in digital exchange encounters. Who is this ‘I’ that sends this message, that enters this search, that responds to this suggestion? Is this a human ‘I’? Is this trace trail left by a ‘person’ distinct from that of a ‘bot’, of a device, of a set of commands? The person generates a public face in language that is an expansion of the text gesture they make, that move that gathers flocking to it like dust to a charged wand, a bar of acrylic given static by vigorous rubbing. This is what we perform to register as someone, the lint of expression made present in public (speaking)(being).

Beckett, Samuel, The Complete Dramatic Works. London: Faber and Faber, 1986.
Brooke-Rose, Christine, from Such (1966) and Between (1968), in The Christine Brooke-Rose Omnibus, Manchester: Carcanet, 1986.
James, William, The Principles of Psychology. London: Harvard University Press, 1981. Vol 1. Chapter 9.
Ronell, Avital, The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech, Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1989.
Sardin, Pascale and Karine Germoni, ‘”Scarcely Disfigured”: Beckett’s Surrealist Translations’, in Modernism/modernity, 18.4, November 2011, pp. 739-753
von Kleist, Heinrich, Selected Writings, ed. by David Constantine, London: J. M. Dent, 1997


Posted 22 May 2013 
This text is a response to the first evening of the Electronic Voice Phenomena tour at Sage, Gateshead, Friday 10th May, featuring performances by Outfit, Hannah Silva, Ross Sutherland, SJ Fowler, Hetain Patel & Richard Milward. 
In the gap between emission and reception there lies a threat to communication. Noise.
A disturbance. A bite. A vibration that leaves indentations on the smooth surface of the event. According to choreography theorist Andre Lepecki,
This is the parasite, the supplementary entropic, the disturbance in the smooth channels of semiotics[...] Parasitic paradigms privilege the fuzzy diagrammatic concatenation of unfoldings in the plane of composition. […] So, we are not receivers, receptors. Instead, we accumulate. And we start to produce, thanks to accumulation. And if we allow the noise to coalesce in the fibrillation of a thought which most of all dares to think, then something quite interesting happens…not by the means of “communication” but by the means of endless, and now, indeed exo-parasitic noisification (Lepecki, 2012).[2]
Lepecki, riffing on Michel Serres’s text, ‘The Parasite’ (1982) formulates a theory of ‘parasitic noisification’. Here, the body in performance is not a stable channel but a stain on the surface of representation. Beyond any communicational imperative, the actioning body affirms an a-semiotic capacity. It is noise amongst the noise of the event of noise, ad infinitum. The body intervenes by making grooves and itinerant channels, by appearing and disappearing in order to activate a disturbance. It is a ‘pest’ (Serres, 1982) and therefore becomes parasitical.
If, as Lepecki provokes, something interesting happens when we abandon the project of communication in favour of ‘fuzzy diagrammatic concatenation’, then this text is obliged to do the same; to be impenetrable. The text wears a set of teeth that cut through stiff channels of one-to-one communication. By licence of accumulation it leaks other ‘stuff’ instead. Unfolding as a string of concatenation’s, it perhaps mis-communicates what was ‘actually’ performed in the event of EVP. It operates on a ‘virtual’ plane of composition made up of partial citations and (personal) association after association after association…
In walks ‘the gent’ with his stick, to the buzzing, dying, dumb frequency of a violin. Naturally he is a wretch. He tells an inward joke of electronic empathy and like depression, his violin descends into noise. The joke resonates like the protraction of a down.
Dead Granddad listens to Pink Floyd in a waking dream where everything is turned into a metaphor for death. It moves us by accident.
Accident. Synchronicity. The Crystal Maze. The Crystal Dome. The Crystal Dome is a Geodesic Dome. A Geodesic Dome begins with a Decagon. Sage Hall 2 is a Decagon. It all adds up. To 10[3] 
To 1 + 0. Male + Female. The fans in The Crystal Dome blow gold like the hurricane Dorothy rides on her bed.
Dorothy is stuck in Oz. Sandra is stuck in Industrial Cell 23. Disembodied women stuck with disembodied voices. Where are all the women? We are mis-represented on screens, in speakers, in dangerous abstractions. I am Dorothy. I am Sandra. I am absent and therefore a metaphor for death.
A partial disturbance occurs in the relationship between Dead Granddad and Dead Dad and becomes Dead Dada. The death of Granddad, the death of Dad, the death of Dada. All sleeping, surreally like Dada Desnos, poster boy of surrealist sleeps.
Robert Desnos stole Duchamp’s female alter ego, ‘Rose Sélavy’. Rose is an abstraction, a ghost woman, stolen and worn like a mask. I hear a man with a Middlesborough accent talk and it is specific. We mourn the loss of the provincial. I hear him speak about wet spray and ejaculation at women. I exercise my own mental hygiene and wonder why it became so erotic.
I taste your stink. Your false impressions. Your voice over my voice under. Deep undercover with a series of words and gestures not your own but embodied nonetheless. Do I speak English?We speak through disease, through transmission, through bodies. We take elegant ideas for a walk with grace, like the choreographer.
The religious betrayal of an uncommunicable thought becomes the suicide of an idea. A woman’s voice, again, trapped and speaking in reverse. Where are all the women? We are mis-represented on screens, in speakers. We promenade in dangerous backward abstractions.
A woman called Total Man Stan was a psychologist and paranormal researcher. She used bowls, and mirrors, and lamps and water to speak convincingly of the dead; of the Neanderthals who were ruled by women. A cautionary tale {like the vagina dentata} written in left-hand {like the latin ‘sinestra’, like the political left}.
I am Dorothy on the bed in a hurricane. I am Sandra in the maze failing her task. I am absent and therefore a metaphor for death. There is a big bear at the back of every stage.

Writer Bio
Victoria Gray is an artist and writer based in York, UK. Her solo performance work has been performed nationally and internationally and her writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals and books on subjects ranging from performance, post-punk and sculpture. Her performance work explores the transmission of affect and audio bio-feedback in performance. Victoria is Senior Lecturer in the School of Performance, Faculty of Arts, York St John University and a PhD candidate at Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. She is co-founder of O U I Performance (York) with artist Nathan Walker.

1 - Referencing Hannah Silva's performance.
2 -
3 - 10 is also divisible by 5, hence the 'Law of Fives' which is also related to the 23 enigma. The EVP event happened on the 10th day of the 5th month of the year and on a Friday which is the 5th day of the week. ]

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