In this episode, we discuss spoken word and sound art. Most specifically, we explore the cultural, aesthetical, theoretical and political challenges of projects mixing language and sonic compositions. From performing Lakota epistemologies, to revealing the hidden cultures of Armenian genocide victims or archiving Mexican sound poetry, our guests share the opportunities, challenges and ethical considerations coming with research-creation practices aiming at making misrepresented or unnoticed realities visible and heard.
This sound piece transports us at the heart of a 32-loudspeaker immersive dome during the last rehearsal of an experimental “hörspiel opera” created by professors and sound artists André Éric Létourneau and Alexandre St-Onge. In doing so, we discover more about the Groupe de recherche sur la médiatisation du son (GRMS), a research-creation sound media lab hosted by Hexagram-UQAM.
Patil Tchilinguirian’s work uses visual communication, data visualization, digital storytelling, textile art and urban interventions to raise awareness about socio-cultural and political critical issues. Her latest project, entitled The Leftovers of the Sword, is a wearable sonic garment that transforms the clothed body into a space for cultural dialogue with the universe of Hidden Armenians following the cultural genocide.
Aurelio Meza Valdez is on a collaborative quest for archiving audio traces of Spanish language poetry before they vanish. A collaboration between Concordia University in Montreal and UNAM in Mexico City, he presents the PoéticaSonora project, an online repository attempting to archive Mexican sound poetics in all their diversity and sometimes revendications. Don’t miss this segment as it includes one of our favourite sound pieces presented on the show so far!
Suzanne Kite brings forward her Oglala Lakota heritage to explore new ways of making Indigenous philosophies visible through her artistic practice. Her studio performance entails interaction with a custom-made electronic braid translating the subtlety of her movements into music with the use of machine learning techniques. She reflects on her relationships to artificial beings through the Lakota concept of niyá and šiču.
Our three guest researcher-creators — Patil Tchilinguirian, Aurelio Meza Valdez and Suzanne Kite — are gathered for a round table on the aesthetical and ethical issues that come to play when mobilizing spoken word and sound art in a political perspective through research-creation.