Performance Research Forum is delighted to host Ella Finer for this final talk of the Spring 2019 programme. Talk followed by discussion and drinks.
Falling Outside: Sonic Miscellanies and the Wild Life of Sound
Beginning with a recording of a swan’s heartbeat, a unique detail of its making and its subsequent discovery in an unopened box of recordings left with the British Library Sound Archive, this talk considers the resistance of sound documents to fit into easy classification and proposes ways to experiment with/invent new ways of doing/thinking sonic preservation, storage, afterlife, otherlife. Following the ethos of Harney and Moten’s The Undercommons (2013), a project referring several times to the sonic as critical agitator, I query what the management of sound as cultural artefact is and explore how the resistance and disorderliness of sound continually pushes against such systems and structures of control.
I will explore the potential of this resistance and disorderliness to create miscellanies: crucially, collections, rather than selections of the sonic. As a collection of the uncategorisable, the uneven group of things defined by its lack of definition, the “sonic miscellany” (referring to the historic form and inclusive collectiveness of the Miscellany in literature) represents a gathering of materials more akin to an acoustic commons than a dedicatedly curated compilation. This distinction necessarily brings up questions of ascribing value through how we group, and who this “we” actually is: who is doing the grouping, how and for whom? When sounds defy categorisation these questions become both more confused and more acute. How might sounds form a miscellany of their own making, a collection by chance – through having nothing in common but their medium, and the recorders who wanted their sounds to play and keep playing?
Ella Finer’s work in sound and performance spans writing, composing and curating with a particular interest in how women’s voices take up space; how bodies acoustically disrupt, challenge or change the order of who is allowed to occupy – command – space. Her ongoing project Sound Politics queries the ownership of cultural expression through sound, informing recent curated events Selector Responder: Sounding out the Archives (I and II) at the British Library (as part of their Season of Sound 2017 and ‘18) and Longplayer Legacies: Live at the Lighthouse with Laura Cannell, Larry Achiampong and Vanessa Brown. She was a 2018 Sound and Music Composer-Curator and is a trustee of Longplayer (longplayer.org).
Dates & times
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