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Lisa Project 3

Layered audio file:
Download file

Individual tracks:
Treatise on Abandonment
A Domesticity
Andrea and I in the Salt Flats with Dynamite
Dawn on Haleakala
Argument for Replacement of Poet with Moon

This project was really a way for me to work with and find different ways of connecting with the form of art that is most familiar to me: poetry. This past year I have been constantly writing poems for class, and I find that the same themes are continually re-emerging in different forms. I am curious about this subconscious life of my poetry and was hoping, through this project, to find a different way of discovering connections across poems that I would not otherwise have noticed. I hope that my method of randomly interweaving/layering recordings of these poems will also allow listeners to discover relationships between them that aren't necessarily obvious in reading them separately.

I started out with a bunch of recordings of poems, thinking that I would be able to use all of them in my project, but there was way too much going aurally so I chose a few (basically randomly) and worked on creating sound 'environments' for them. The poems I chose all happened to have a strong sense of place, or a motif of some sort that I could represent through sound (explosions, droplets). I thought this would be a good learning experience with sound and also add another dimension to them poems, and a rhythm too.

I thought I would be able to create one sound file at first, but since I wanted the poems to be able to randomly interact with each other (instead of having me set their interactions), I decided to burn each poem (repeated over and over) onto a CD and then have 5 CD players set up (Flaming Lips style). Listeners could have as many playing at once as they would like, and they could control when each would begin playing (or stop playing). When I found out I could use the performance and installation room I figured I would play one track from each pair of speakers, or however it works out, and have listeners just experience it without being able to control anything.

The first time I will have heard my project is just before I show it, so it is a little bit of an experiment and I'm not sure yet how it will work out. Hopefully well!

***

I think the performance and installation room version of my project was really successful. It's true that the words were significantly less audible than the other sounds, but that was really OK with me. Also, some of the poems were louder than others because the sound dynamics of those speakers were different than listening to it from computer speakers. This made it more difficult perhaps to hear relationships between the poems themselves, but the sounds also had interesting interactions I thought.
All in all, I was really happy with the way it turned out, and how all of the sounds representing different locations came together to form a new poetic sound space!

I still can see my project functioning in different ways and in different settings, like having the CDs I made set up in regular old CD players that people can have more control over, or using 2 portable CD players with earbuds and having people listen to both at the same time, one in each ear. I also thought about having people listen to the tracks one at a time before layering them.

This was another learning experience for me, and I'm glad I had a chance to focus on working with sound exclusively. I think it's a great way to experience anyone's poetry, and it forced my to confront my own poetry in a way that I was not accustomed to and not entirely comfortable with. I definitely hope to do more experimenting with poetry and sound in the future.