Poems on EVP website

The first two sets of poems from the residency have appeared on Electronic Voice Phenomena. This is the website for a fantastic touring project exploring new approaches to sound, voice, technology and writing – coming to an arts centre near you in May.

The first set of poems, Describing Silence (6 Distortions), draws on my experiences in UCL’s anechoic chamber.

The second set, Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomena, channels the ‘tip-of-the-tongue’ state through a series of early-to-mid 80s chart-toppers.

More to come in a few weeks…

Chamber Music

In 1713 William Derham published Physico-Theology – a book intended as a ‘demonstration of the being and attributes of God’ but filled with experimental observations made by the author and his fellow Royal Society associates. In a footnote, Derham writes about shutting up a sparrow and a titmouse in a ‘compressing engine’ – an air pump – and watching them expire.

This is me reading that passage as I subject myself to Delayed Auditory Feedback, with my own words echoing back to me through headphones with a delay of 200ms.

Boomerang

I’m returning to the procedure of Delayed Auditory Feedback, a phenomenon that grabbed my attention back at the start of the residency. Right now I’m playing around with ways to integrate it into a dialogue-poem, but for now, here are the artists Richard Serra and Nancy Holt using it back in 1974, in a piece originally broadcast on public television in Amarillo, Texas:

Thanks to Jonathan Watts for bringing this to my attention. The film can also be downloaded or streamed from the incomparable Ubuweb (mp4).

Podcast from Resonance fm show

I hosted this programme on Resonance104.4fm in the week leading up the The Voice Symposium, featuring contributions from Sophie Scott, Emma Bennett, Joe Banks, Pradheep Shanmugalingam, Carolyn McGettigan and Holly Pester.

You can stream or download the podcast here:

‘The Voice’ broadcast on Resonance104.4fm by thevoxlab

Many thanks to the contributors – links below:

Sophie Scott
Emma Bennett
Joe Banks
Pradheep Shanmugalingam
Carolyn McGettigan
Holly Pester

Chirologia: or the naturall language of the hand

In 1644 John Bulwer published Chirologia: or the naturall language of the hand, one of the first analyses of the rhetorical power of hand gestures.

Using the ‘Alphabet of naturall expressions’ that Bulwer included in his Chirologia, I sourced a series of gestures by feeding Bulwer’s Latin names through a Youtube search. I then tried to explain in words how to perform these new gestures to Sally Davies and recorded the results. The instructional passages are intercut with reflections on these attempts recorded in a domestic setting.

This work was first performed at Mercy’s Electronic Voice Phenomena weekend at the Liverpool Biennial 2012.

Chirologia 1 by jwilkes

Chirologia 2 by jwilkes

Chirologia 3 by jwilkes

Database Poem Performance

Here’s a walkthrough of an attempt to use the MRC psycholinguistic database to produce poetry. This work activates two dimensions of the database, familiarity and concreteness, sampling each dimension at 9 points from minimum to maximum to gather sets of words for performance.

The words were then read out alternately by me (on familiarity) and Holly Pester (on concreteness). The sets are not of equal length, so when one performer runs out of words, the other carries on alone. First performed at Poetry Parnassus, Southbank Centre, 30 June 2012, for an event curated and filmed by SJ Fowler.

Database Poem 1 from James Wilkes on Vimeo.