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Published by

Anastasija Kiake


Aural paths, comfort spaces

01. 12. 2021

diagram illustration




When speaking of ‘vocal fatigue’ one would refer to the exhaustion of the voice. That is a condition that is most common for bodies that resist singing. The sonic properties of the voice are temporary, partly, and/or completely lost. One’s body, the instrument is left with the words of one’s language that are pronounced in a state of a muted acoustic reality. But sometimes language itself crash in a condition of acute fatigue. It’s the psycho-somatic state when acoustics don’t make it to the point of the social agreement that forms a word the same way as a gesture of one’s hand fails the becoming of readable writing. Sometimes it is expressed in the silence and blankness of a page, against the instructions that are imposed upon one’s body. Sometimes there is enough common sense to count as language, but these words and sentences that appear available conflict with the reality of the not-yet expressed but intended for the departure from one’s private worlds. 
One’s private and tired worlds. The body resists the words. One’s language seeks a new muscle memory in this state of the not-yet said and not-yet written, the blank page, the not-yet space, maybe emptiness, silence, but who knows…maybe noise, maybe space in-between, maybe in-between not-yet space, maybe not-yet of the becoming, maybe it’s almost now, maybe a chance but also not-yet a possibility. 
‘Verbal fatigue’ is a condition of multiple intersecting emotional, sensory and bodily meanings that have the exhaustion of one’s language in common. Language in this sense must be seen as an internal as well as external territory of one’s body that requires rest. 
These exercises are proposals for strategies of seeking comfort through sound and movement or silence and stillness. The instructions are intended to be soft and fluid. Do as you intuitively wish. 

  1. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes but if not then try to look away from your screen and from the blank paper that is intended for writing. I invite you to listen to the sound that will be coming out of your speaker. The sound will be guided by the gesture of my hands moving around the instrument. One hand will guide the pitch, the other will guide the volume. When I start playing, follow the sound with your pen, in order to move together with, or against, or alongside it or to embrace the stillness if your hand doesn’t want to move. Words are welcome, but not necessary. 
    It will not last more than 5 min.

  2. Now I would like to ask you to choose an ear. After you have made the choice, select a window in the space where you are currently located. Take a piece of paper. Walk towards the window that you have chosen. Stand to the window as close as you can. If you feel comfortable, press the chosen ear towards the glass. Take your hand now, block the sound coming in through the other ear. Listen to sound the space outside the window. 
    Just for a moment, not longer than approximately 1 min. 
    Press your piece of paper towards the window. 
    What is the first word that comes to your mind? Write the letters of that word in backward order. If nothing comes to your mind, you are free to leave the paper blank. Then come back to your screen. 

  3. I invite you now to look at your hands, both of them, not only the writing hand. Hold them in front of you. It’s up to you if you want your hands to be still or moving. Now, dedicate a little song to your hands. I would like to ask you to sing without words. You can hymn, click your tongue or just breathe really loudly, whatever comes to your mind is welcome, even silence if that’s more fitting for the moment.
    Just for approximately two-three min and then return back to the shared space.
    Try to remember the last time that you felt joyful about doing nothing and do nothing to capture this moment on paper.

  4. What is the last question that you couldn’t answer? Write it down but give yourself permission to not answer it yet. It can be this question if nothing comes up.

  5. For the last exercise, I would like to ask you to take one minute to go back to the song or noises that you performed for your hands, the sounds that you heard through your window, and the paths that your writing or drawing hands took during the first exercise. 
    Think about something that you can carry with you for the rest of the day. It has to be something that has a surface that you can write on, for instance, a small piece of paper, your hand, or a piece of fabric. Write down a commitment to a form of comfort that you will stick to for the rest of your day. If nothing comes up, assign some symbolic value of comfort to the chosen object. In both cases, if you chose an object to write on, carry it close to your body for the rest of the day.