'A Laboratory of Sensations': Listening for Texture

Seita, Sophie. 2023. 'A Laboratory of Sensations': Listening for Texture. OEI: Aural Poetics, 98-99, pp. 125-139. ISSN 1404-5095 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Sometimes peeling a pomegranate can sound like the crackling of a small fire. Or glass spinning. Or the universe exploding. How do we listen for texture? Normally when we think of texture, we think of something we can touch—something haptic or visual, definitely something external to us, like a chenille or corduroy cushion, where we either sense or see how much the material might give. To listen for texture means to de-emphasise a dominant sensorial system over others. Can one sense gain some qualities of another and undo the senses’ strict separation? How do we create frisky synaesthetic intermingling? Suddenly texture is also inside us. It can’t be seen or touched but felt. To listen for texture also qualifies what ‘hearing’ might mean. This essay imagines writing the closed captions for 'Polymorphic Microbe Bodies', an experimental multisensory dance piece with binaural sound by Erin Robinsong and Hanna Sybille Müller, presented via Zoom in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic, and discusses what imaginative descriptive language can capture the sonic and embodied landscape we experience in such a somatically driven performance. It also reflects on JJJJJerome Ellis, Christina Sun Kim, Lygia Clark, the artist's own work, amongst others.

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OEI # 98 - 99: Aural Poetics, a special issue focused on new approaches to oral literature and performance, edited by Michael Nardone.

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8 November 2021Accepted
20 February 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

03 Jul 2023 10:59

Last Modified:

28 Mar 2024 15:30



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