Transcript from the panel discussion that took place at ACCA on Tuesday 24 May 2022, 6–7pm
This panel discussion focused on the use of the voice in performance and sound practice, in association with Frances Barrett: Meatus.
This panel was co-moderated by Debris Facility Pty Ltd of Liquid Architecture, and Joel Stern, former Liquid Architecture Director, and current Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT. Speakers include: artists V Barratt, Frances Barrett, and Archie Barry.
Max Delany: Good evening, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us. It’s a great pleasure to welcome you all to ACCA. Thank you for joining us this evening for Monstrous Chorus, which promises to be a rich and resonant discussion about the role of the voice in performance and sound practice. Before we begin, I’d like to acknowledge that Wurundjeri as sovereign custodians of the land upon which we meet, and also extend our respect to elder’s past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people who might be joining us this evening, and or tuning in via the subsequent podcast.
I’m really pleased to be able to welcome Debris Facility Pty Ltd of Liquid Architecture and Joel Stern, former Director of Liquid Architecture, and now current Vice-Chancellors Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT, who will together lead the discussion this evening with artists Frances Barrett, the convener of Meatus. Frances Barrett, and I believe also with a remote contribution from Archie Barry.
The program has been presented in association with ACCA’s current exhibition Frances Barrett: Meatus, which runs until the 19th of June. It will also follow the sensational performance program curated by Liquid Architecture over the weekend, titled Orifice Oriented Ontologies, which was curated by Debris within and in response to Meatus and in which Francis Barrett performed a new work. Today’s forum will include short presentations by each of our speakers, and a subsequent dialogue moderated by Joel and Debris. It now gives me great pleasure to hand over to Joel and Debris and our special guests. Thank you.
Joel Stern: Thanks, Max. Thanks, everyone, for being here tonight. We have two moderators/modulators with only four of us on stage, as well as Archie who is joining remotely but I think we’ll have a democratic sort of approach and happy to extend that to the audience also. Please speak up at any time if you want to intervene or interject or interrupt, please use your voices. We thought to give this Monstrous Chorus, a little bit of structure, rather than having just a kind of open-ended conversation, Debris, and I decided to set a little bit of homework for Francis, V and Archie. We’re going to begin with a task and invite the artists to in turn respond, and I believe Archie is going to go first. Is that right Debris?
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: Yes, first I think you maybe should introduce what the task is first.
Joel Stern: Okay, I’m going to read the task in detail. The invitation was to speak about voice and sound in the context of contemporary art and performance. But you know, rather than kind of survey and make general observations about what we’re kind of seeing in vocal performance from usual places around the world, or in Melbourne, or whatever, we thought we’d start with something kind of more intimate, more subjective and because after all our voice is one of the things that is most intimate to us, it often, in fact, stands in for a kind of subjectivity, a kind of self-identification, although it’s obviously a lot more complicated thing than that as we’ll discuss later. So, Debris and I came across this amazing kind of exercise that a sound studies scholar Jennifer Stoever incorporates into her vocal studies classes in the first week of teaching, and we’ve adapted it a little bit for purpose and the task is as follows: write a brief biography of your lifelong relationship with your voice being as speculative or open ended as you wish. Some questions to consider: How did your voice sound and feel to you as a child, how does your voice sound and feel to you now? How do you feel about it? How have your feelings morphed over time? What kind of feedback have you received about the sound of your voice? From whom? What information do you think people assume about you, rightly or wrongly based on the sound of your voice?
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: And I mean, to implicate myself within this project, I am an artist within the Meatus project, so I can begin with some thoughts or speculations. Debris Facility was formed in 2015 to enact a Para corporate entity. A lot of the ways that we communicate is through parasitic language. I see the parasite as an interrupted force between signal and noise, both material and immaterial, within language. Through this, I feel that I was able to take on a multitude of voices, and that my voice was not my own, but I was able to take on the affect of alienation as a texture of voice that continues throughout our projects and methodologies. I see that our voice has complex contours that makes the parasite always hungry. It bites into available crumbs or means, wherever possible and I see those crumbs as a kind of a form of sustenance which sustains the body. I see the body of voices as completely intertwined, that this consumption is about a kind of consuming this voice, other discourse, other ideas and how that will lead us in survival and expansion. In terms of where it’s come from, I’m most interested in where we’re enemies, in terms of the kind of post-life or post-humans’ kind of contours of the voice, if you’re going to talk with capitalism in a corporate language, I guess, member of politics and macro-policy of these kinds of things is incredibly attuned. And I think to link back, the signal and noise aspects of voice is integral to the way that we use our voice. And of course, everyone in their voice is not always vocal, it’s not sonic, it is like your aesthetic attitude or sensibility or affect or stands in for political subjectivity. These are some of my thoughts, around a biography for a voice.
As we have got Archie Barrie on the line at the moment, perhaps if we can queue over to Zoom, and maybe also note that our voices are mediated by technology by a distance that we are in this moment now that is going to be recorded, and which will probably will be listened to by other people listening to this podcast at another time, so I think that the record and datafication of our voice and technologies that’s being prepared again is a shadow over the kind of working with the voice community.
Archie Barry: Hi, everyone. I’m calling from my home, I’m unwell at the moment, so thank you for making some accommodations for my voice to be heard and if my audio is not coming through if I could have someone write me a note in the chat. I am currently calling in from Footscray which is Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung Country. And I have too much that separates us in the Senate. And I acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded and this always was and always will be Aboriginal land. And, I just have to imagine everyone there, and you might hear some dog barking or baby crying from home, so just work through those surprises. I wanted to start by foregrounding, the sort of reticence that I had in response to this prompt because there was something about it where I was essentially feeling so strongly that voice is fundamentally relational and being asked to write a biography of my relationship to my own voice felt kind of artificial to try and extract whatever interpersonal relationships my voice might be. I feel like other people are always involved in having a voice influence, this feedback loop between how I sound and who I am and that that’s always mediated by other people’s perceptions. I wanted to say I feel that having a voice at all is about whether you’ve been heard or unheard, and also who taught you to speak. This prompt is probably thinking primarily about voice and communication as an inherently politicised realm of communication. And to think about how things like opportunities and access to different spaces before we deny to people based on how they sound and speak and when they choose to speak and who is present to listen as well. I kind of denied myself the experience of writing a biography of a voice but I was brought to thinking about what was the (trails off..).
Maybe I can speak to a very clear and obvious shift in my voice that has happened over time, it has changed significantly which is in relation to hormone usage, and how that becomes like a social phenomenon, and in response to this question of what kind of feedback I receive about the sound of a voice and from whom. In saying that my voice, meaning the tenor and pitch of my voice has changed dramatically in the last five years I will provide some further context. I used to be a soprano singer and that is now exposed to an alto tenor, and sometimes singing very French, and that has transformed along that concurrently with injecting the hormone testosterone. And it’s taken a few years of on and off training for me to actually retrain my larynx to be able to reach an upper register again. So now I can sing in soprano. And that slide in vocal range has restructured the way that people relate with me. And the way that I notice that most clearly is that people listen to me more. And people think that I’m funnier even though I don’t say anything that I think is fundamentally different to the topics that I used to. And, that, to me is evidence of sexism that is in tenor, tonality and pitch of the speaking voice. When I performed, I guess that I enjoyed being able to sing in soprano and because of perhaps it temporarily suspends this expectation and this sort of unknown authority, which people ascribe to a voice which is quote-unquote ‘masculine sounding’. I can speak to that sort of what I just call unearned authority as requiring of me a special kind of attention to how I listen and make silence as well. It’s more complicated than that as well because simultaneously to that unearned prescriptions, power comes to this kind of cognitive dissonance in personal relationships. For example, I’ve had a close friend tell me that my voicemail recording isn’t me even though it was me as a past voice. There’s this slippage or spaciousness that gets intensely opened. I will briefly speak about practices of listening and making sound and language in my practice as it relates to these questions. I was thinking about how I’ve got a pretty deep, clear, and better practice of listening to myself when I meditate. I meditate for 40 minutes, every day. And then I usually write in a journal nearly every day. So, we have these practices, which I consider to foreground the creation of artwork that is (audio disrupted).
So I sit and listen to it, to the sound in my mind and then the art practice itself, is in some forms speaking about posting a multitude of voices, or presenting a chorus of internal battles. Not showing up for sounding one way, I’m interested in like the dexterity of voice to be evasive and complicating this this Ministry of idea of a single coherent selfhood because my experience, in general, is messy. The fact that you’re going off and finding ways to form, reform words to different kinds of sense is going to be abstract, but I don’t want to take up too much time. So maybe I will pause now so we can hear from others, and I’ll just stay on the call and listen in.
Joel Stern: Thank you so much, Archie. Thank you so much for that thoughtful response. I’m glad that both you and Debris have in some ways rejected the prompt. When we named this panel Monstrous Chorus, we’re thinking as much if not more about the dissonant chorus of internal voices that make up the fragmented subject of ourselves, than we are a choir of many voices speaking together. It’s both the internal and the external chorus of voices that we move through as subjects. It’s a good moment to introduce a couple of theoretical touchstones before I turn to you, Frances. One of them would be to reflect on the kind of uncanny experience of Archie’s voice resonating through this space, despite the absence of their body. And, you know, drawing on the theorist, Michel Chion’s idea of the acousmetre, the disembodied voice, the voice without a body that by virtue of being everywhere and nowhere at once, holds a kind of power over the room. I think Archie probably could have just kept on speaking, you know, forever, we wouldn’t have had the power to interrupt because you’re neither here nor there. Frances, you draw a lot on Adriana Cavarero in your text and Curators Talk, which accompanies this show, and Cavarero has a great definition of the voice which where she says that the voice is that which precedes, generates and exceeds verbal communication. So, here she is, really understanding that, when we equate voice with just being a vehicle for communication, we are kind of, in fact, the voice is, the opposite, it is everything that is not communication, everything that is not language, the phonic and the semiotic need to be separated in her theorisation. So, I just want to make that reflection before throwing it over to you to respond to the idea of a vocal biography.
Frances Barrett: I don’t remember a lot about my childhood, I can’t recall. Yeah, I just don’t have that memory. I put it out something that is quite recent and changing to be a radio host for an arts program. When I first started going onto radio, my throat literally closed over and it was very painful to sit through that one hour show because I was so anxious about being heard in that way, of having a voice, of having an unknown audience. I’ve performed and been an artist for a long time, but it’s not a specific condition or it’s not communicated in that particular way, it’s opening at any point in the body as opposed to the voice for me sounded, I just felt very anxious about taking such a position on something physically and my body responded in this very painful way and it took me a long time to learn how to loosen and be relaxed. For a while I’ve noticed when I was on the radio my voice was lower. All of a sudden, I had this very low, slow voice. That was my personal persona, because I was just trying to relax and to also hold that space as opposed to thinking you need to slow down, specifically thinking about how to conduct a thoughtful interview. Then the second thing was for me, to hold an interview they told me to not be afraid of the stops and not be afraid of silence because with silence you can hold the power structure, and you can hold the interviewee and can try and leak out more information. So that was my response to the question. For me, it’s more about registering my voice and also this use of silence in my experience of hosting radio.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: I guess it’s also interesting, in terms of like tone and gender and, you know, the structures that you’re pointing to as well, but also the political economy esteemed that by slowing down your tempo you get hold of that space…
Frances Barrett: Yes, yeah, exactly. Because you can in some ways respond to situations whereas with the disembodied audience you don’t have that sense of being able to easily respond with certain emotions…
Joel Stern: Archie also brought up the question of voice and gender, which is something you deal with a lot in your writing and your research and, again, I’ll just quote briefly from your text, where you’re drawing from Anne Carson and writing on the gender of sound, and you say that voices that sit outside of the rational male subject are a destabilising force to the necessary hierarchies substantiating the patriarchy. So, I just wonder if you could, you know, are silences kind of moments of muted awkwardness, are they sort of voices outside of the rational male subject voice?
Frances Barrett: Well I guess Carson’s point on the gender of sound is that… this idea of rationality is at the centre of patriarchal culture, right? And so, if you think about high voices, things that are emotional, like screams, things like shrieks you know, they sit outside of this kind of rational subject, that commands clarity and commands language. And so, I think if silence, maybe there’s no explanation because this is kind of…
Joel Stern: A kind of horror vacui? Or such as radio silence or dead time.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: You spoke or were pointing to that there is a clear tactical passivity, specifically, which is likened to a kind of the register or similar kind of reading policies as a kind of… survival tactic as opposed to artistic construction or production.
Frances Barrett: Yeah, with a curator’s voice I like this idea of doubling down, so it was kind of a wormhole-like noise. For me, I think, to obey a coherent subject to main centred subject to something, you know, there’s potential political tensions.
Joel Stern: I’m glad you mentioned shrieks and screams, because V, we’ll now bring you into the conversation. I know you’re interested in these sorts of excessive forms of vocality and language. We were just speaking before about the Canadian artist and theorist Christof Migone, who has been important to both of us. His idea of this stutterance where he says that the utterance is about kind of meaning and communication and the stutter is about interruption, and the stutterance is those two things sort of held in productive tension. Your performance on Saturday night, which I loved, it had this kind of flow of language, with a constant sort of self-interruption and a multiplicity of voices producing a monstrous chorus. I wonder if you could speak a little bit about that and also answer our question?
V Barratt: Hello. Silence is so embarrassing. I also just want to acknowledge that I didn’t make that work alone and that everyone who was performing and who created the space and supported the performances are also my collaborators and I am making with them. I want to particularly acknowledge Lauren Abhaneri, who was the person who was managing the effects on my voice, Lauren is amazing. When these questions were put to me, I’ve actually written something down and I’m going to read it. A couple of questions immediately came up, before I could even go to the idea of a biography of a voice. What is the voice? What is the relationship between speech and voice? And beyond that, what is the relationship of voice to writing, listening, language, noise? What does it mean to have a voice, and do I? If you don’t speak, do you still have a voice? The voice is a relational energetic. My dad was a farmer, my mother, the farmer’s wife. My dad had a loud voice, my mum acquiescent. There was a hierarchy of voice in my biological unit. I didn’t know I had a voice because I was a reader in a corner from a very, very young age. I read to myself, I listened to my own voice in a silent reading. I was silent because, because, because. My silence was such a powerful absence-presence. When I consider a biography of my voice, it feels surprising that I’ve sublimated consideration of this most fundamental connective tissue. As soon as my attention was bought to it, I coughed. I cleared my throat. I inhaled sharply in an effort to feel my voice and know it. How do you know something that is as close to you as blood? Voice, I really don’t know you at all. In my early 20s, as a mouthy-budding-queer, I started to do performances where I hung upside down and proclaimed/emphatically declared my subjectivity. I was writing poetry about the new world disorder and my voice was the weapon. The voice brings into being and reifies the voice. I am, I am, I am. Every time I said ‘I am’ my queerness became more enfleshed I knew there was a political power and that I could move people. This is another story about vocal production in the academy which I won’t tell except to say that I went to drama school when I was 17. It’s how I know anything about something called technique. To move. I would call that affect now. I open my mouth, I make a shape with my mouth. I push out noise with a soft or hard breath and a particular cadence, and this sets up a vibration that travels from me to you, to you to you to you to the chair to the roof, and will eventually leave the building and join all the vibrations that have been resonating since before there was time. I too was moved by punk blasphemy, by queer nudity and vomit, by crazy bitches. Suddenly I understood something about voice. I’ve been writing and reading a lot about voice lately, unpacking an ontology of the panic subject, and how it is constituted by language, by noise, by unspeaking, by excessive vowelling and hectic glottal stopping. Ictic vocalities is what I call it. From ictus: a seizure, a blow, or in prosodic terms, a metre, a rhythm. The ictic which I wrote, embraced by interrobangs to signify fright, is a prosody of panic, interrupting the smooth running of language to produce a non-semantic and non-discursive vocality of effective prosody. Ictic vocalities are interruptions stripped back for survival, saying the most with the least, falling out of grammaticality, it is the disavowed, the choking glottal stops, the plosive stutters or the moans that are more breath than speech, that I have found carry all the meanings about panic. Phenomelogically speaking, a body is our general means of having a world and our world is spoken into existence. Panic corrodes the voice becoming noise, dematerialising both the world and the body in the process.
Joel Stern: Ictic vocalities, yeah, I love it.
V Barratt: It’s got a nice like, ‘k’ ‘t’ ‘i’ ‘k’ , you know, and then the interrobangs of fright so you can kind of (gasps) ictic.
Joel Stern: And it has a really nice…
V Barratt: …A nice mouthiness…
Joel Stern: …And the mouthiness of it sort of reminds us that, you know, if the word brings the world into being, but the word is also produced by a mouth that chews, spits, tears, swallows, a kind of an abject orifice. And it’s a shame Alison’s not here to talk about orificing right now…
V Barratt: orifizzing… Yeah, orifizzing or orifisting. But perhaps we can, you know, maybe think about this relationship between voice and body a little bit more, and especially the proximity of voice to human because I’m quite interested now, especially V with you, sort of being very interested in mediation, alienation, and the kind of technologized voice, whether for you vocality is a fundamentally human category, or whether the kind of machinic synthesised voice is as much of a voice as any other? I mean, I think that I know what I, as a human voice, I know what I want to produce, with my voice, and I know how to do that. You know, but I also think that, because I have this notion of trying to perform an excessive, and kind of an excramental and a corroded kind of vocality that the kind of augmentation and that the, the use of the kind of effects where I’m working with somebody to make that happen through, whatever kind of machinic means, really, really, really augments that process, and helps me to do something that perhaps I couldn’t otherwise do, and it helps me to fall out of language. I’m also interested in not just this machinic boundary breaking, but also the idea of falling out of the house of language or the prison house of language, and falling out of language animally. So Nicola Masciandaro, a philosopher, talks about this like falling out of language animally, which I just think is so beautiful, again this idea that we, you know, human exceptionalism, breaking down human exceptionalism, that we have language and nobody else has language, but kind of falling into a kind of an animality and when you’re in a state where you’re moaning or growling or sobbing, you know, you’re coming much more towards, in that like, lengthening the throat. Like when I have a panic attack, this thing happens where my head feels like it falls back and I have to kind of go like this, but it like stretches the throat so you have this kind of swan’s neck or a snake’s neck, and there are no obstructions, and the o’s just come like from kind of your anus out through your mouth, you know, and there’s nothing in-between just this kind of moaning of o’s. So I’m also kind of interested not just in that kind of, you know, machine augmentation and my kind of relationship to the machine and the person who’s also working with the machine but also falling out of the house of language animally.
Joel Stern: I’m reminded hearing that of the work we were just talking about by Hayley Newman, the Lock Jaw lecture series where she has a dentist anaesthetise her jaw before delivering a lecture, and the performance is of the struggle to sort of speak with a numb, demobilised mouth. After all, the human body is a kind of machine which can frequently malfunction and be transformed. Debris?
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: I’m glad that you brought the animal into it, because that was also my immediate counterpoint. Because also you can feel more into the animal and machine almost at the same time, like this performance that you had with Orifice Oriented Ontologies, you were a worm, but also a machinic worm, or there’s that architectural or, movement of the kind of worm, which obviously had vision. And it was also interesting that this program where you talked about the ‘o’, some of the framework or the collection of writings, like wormhole, Orifice Oriented Ontology is about this kind of multiple readings of the ‘o’ as zero point of data of 000 emergency or, this moaning pleasure pain, there’s multiple readings of something which is so integral to language and how we also start to speak is through kind of screaming, or this infant voice is kind of something which I think you’re pointing to, and that it continues through our kind of lives as well. And maybe, a question is, what do you think are some of the repressive mechanisms that we work with to kind of like, hush this, where does that screaming baby go to within our kind of, within our lives within our artistic voices?
V Barratt: Yeah, I really feel that. It’s hard and maybe embarrassing and humiliating to like, moan.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: Yeah, exactly.
V Barrett: To kind of just really fall out of the house of language animally, and to just go into moaning, screaming, crying. And harking back to the screaming, baby, and I guess there’s a lot of kind of psychoanalysis in there. You know, ‘we’ve been looking through this hole for a very long time’. You know, that? Well, the anus in this case. And so, I would say there’s a lot to say about that in terms of psychoanalysis. But I think it’s super important to reconnect to that excessive, I think its indicative of this, and my voice was silenced by a patriarchal father, and so I went into reading, but then, I found my blasphemous voice as a young, queer, and then it became a voice of kind of political resistance against the father.
Joel Stern: Maybe we can talk about the scream, just briefly, because I think the scream is such an interesting figure of sound, it’s so semiotically ambiguous, it can signify pleasure or horror. The female scream in cinema has been so heavily theorised and psychoanalysed. Brian Fuata’s voice kind of works itself up into a kind of primal scream over the course of the audio piece. When I think about the scream with all of its sort of volume and intensity as somehow at the other end of the spectrum to a sort of mute silence. But on the other hand, that they’re sort of quite close together as a sort of a vocal figure that is resistant to language resistant to meaning, and the scream sort of emerges out of the negative space of a gap of an orifice, of a mouth. So in, out of this kind of, this gap something with such great materiality emerges.
V Barratt: …We think of silence as the most poignant in the relationship between science and …the screen.
Joel Stern: Could you say something about the composition in Meatus and the way that it kind of works itself up into a sort of screaming, climax of sorts, or, or many, and what that scream means to you?
V Barratt: I guess there’s two sort of moments. I can see that there’s a scream, a schlop in his work. So schlopping is a term that is from a William Burroughs in text Queer refers to the desire of one character to another as this kind of blind worm hunger, and he also refers in other ways as this kind of desire of schlopping. Then in this other instance, that he also refers to the evisceration of a certain figure in one of his books where the character gets the haemorrhoids caught in the wheel of a cart, and then all the organs get sucked out of the body with a great schlop. So schlopping became an interesting term that both meant a homoerotic desire and a desire to be projected out of yourself, but then in the same moment, schlopping for Burroughs was also the body eviscerated. It was this kind of both projected, but evacuated by the body. For me, schlopping spoke to the mouth, and in this work, I started thinking of the mouth and the desire shlop and holding ideas of queer potentiality in the relationality and the eviscerated schlop and the anul force of schlopping as being sort of speaking to the queer and to the relationality. And those two things kind of being typified by leaning into the future. And also as queer as the horizon, as potential. So for me schlopping kind of spoke to the tension and the productive tension and differences within queer theorising, kind of queer.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: And you’re also speaking into a queer temporality to. I’m interested in the time which is embedded in Meatus, in terms of its production, but also the desire for an audience to be embodied within it and spend time, what do you think of this, yeah the cruising potential of Meatus as a space? I guess you’d have to ask the invigilators.
V Barratt: Instances of people taking off items of clothing in the installation is very exciting. But I think, for me, first and foremost, I see this as kind of a performative space. And that’s why a temporal arc of an experience is important, however much that’s determined by chance, with the sequencing of this work, and then, I feel like as well as with entering into a space, there’s a sense of sort of giving into something, whether you’re walking into a club, or you’re walking into a gallery, or you’re walking into a park or something. There’s this kind of sense of like, there’s an environment that you’re entering. And I guess the temporality of the spaces, since we’re getting into it, there’s non narrative or a non-linear experience that you can kind of walk through and maybe even as well, you know, hopefully, in walking through, you’re also going to witness the other bodies in the space and so you’re hyper-conscious of others.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: Yeah, and I think that that comes through with giving voice to the gallery itself that the more than any other exhibition I’ve seen, I feel like it the gallery becomes a body. And we are parasites or worms within it, possibly, or you know, like, there are these kinds of like, a gentle kind of relations which are highlighted I think by both highlighting and removing the visual field through this kind of intense red coloration we get flattened by the digestive tract of the gallery. And I feel with my voice within that space, I almost feel that I can speak back to it. But I also, feel muted. It’s a really interesting mode of of experiencing the work. And where I feel my voice is my body. I feel maybe you, as an artist, you see… …a map protecting its own?
V Barratt: Yes! You’re own versions as well are kind of permeating and letting the work exceed beyond the kind of centre passages and something you then open out into the rest of ACCA and also in terms of the programming that you’ve orchestrated, and the Disclaimer Journal, your works seep outwards beyond the space too. I really liked your, you let the veins of Meatus, kind of run outside of those walls.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: I guess evisceration has a kind of cosmic mess. Maybe to flip back to you, V, I wonder if you could kind of, you talked a little bit about kind of like the messiness or noise of your voice or voicing. Can you maybe speak to that? And maybe for questions how do we clean that up, or do we live in this mess?
V Barratt: I know we live in the mess. And I guess I’m trying to live in it as well as kind of produce that within the constraints of creative practice. I am trying to perform excess in order to kind of communicate the affect. Especially in my recent kind of research and work on panic, which is, interestingly, we’ve been talking about evacuation and the schlop as also a process of like panic, I would conceive of as an extreme affect, in which there is a subjective evacuation. In that case, who is speaking, because it’s like that Beckett thing of the body going on without you, you’re just this kind of meat puppet. For me, it’s important to perform / speak / noise / unspeak / unlanguage, kind of destroy, order words, and kind of kind of fuck with semiotics in order to be able to kind of be this excessive subject. For me, the subject that isn’t messy, is a subject that is constructed by and constrained by capitalism, and the patriarchy and so on. The machinic assemblage, the, machines in production, for most… The voice of Siri or Alexa? Yeah, I have this thing about, put on your human suit and plug into the machines of production. That’s what you do when you wake up in the morning, and I am just a kind of ragged piece of shit in the mornings, you have to kind of stitch yourself, and oh, there’s a bit falling off, and stick it back on that kind of, I don’t know what those people were in Star Trek, those aliens that were made up of all different, like, patchwork. Anyway…
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: Maybe, to point to that, I think we’re talking about performance and voice and I mean, take the angle that the voice is always already performing. Yeah, any kind of utterances is for an audience, there is dramaturgy and a stage or crowd to it.
V Barratt: Oh my god. Yes, yeah.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd: Archie’s has sent through a message, they’ve got some thoughts about this. Let’s see if we can pan over to them.
Archie Barry: Thank you. I’ve been losing a lot of information…And I just wanted to, respond to some of these things that I’m excited about. Yeah, it’s almost like healing the animal, animal-self to make sense and how this capacity we have to make nonsense feels to me, it’s the like an uncanny sort of temporality for moving backwards in time. Something that I learned in the last year or so, research about human voices is that we’ve had our full vocal range for something like 300,000 years, but we’ve had language for 50,000 years, which means we’ve been screaming and yelling, moaning and whistling for far longer than we have been speaking. And that there are 1000s of generations of that sounding and sounding to communicate that affect. Which makes me think a bit about the way that we talk to understand the impact of intergenerational trauma. Think about like our actual like dexterities… in this intergenerational gift that we can somehow re-acquaint ourselves with. I just wanted to throw that there.
Joel Stern: Thanks so much for being with us, Archie in this way and for your comments. I also feel like when I’m looking over at you guys, that Brian Fuata is here with us in the form of his giant, disembodied listening ear, and that somewhere he’s sort of hearing this and somehow compositing it into his own kind of experimental language formations. Obviously, he’s a very important presence in the work. I think we’ve gotten to seven o’clock which was our scheduled end time is that right? And I did threaten at the beginning to sort of open the conversation to the audience, but none of you have interrupted or intervened, so it just goes to show that the politeness is more sort of pervasive, then the potential but perhaps if there is one pressing question or comment, or any, concise reflection that anyone wants to make from the audience we’d be open to that. And if not, I’ll thank V, Debris. Francis, Archie, and all of you, and thanks for coming. Thank you.
ACCA acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation as sovereign custodians of the land on which we work and welcome visitors, who have cared for Country and culture over millennia, and continue to do so. We extend our respect to ancestors and Elders past and present, and to all First Nations people.