At Night the Whole World Hums
“Take a walk at night. Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears.”
- Pauline Oliveros
At Night the Whole World Hums is a text score I wrote for Carclew's 2022 SALA Exhibition. It was performed at the opening of the exhibition in the Carcew ballroom on Kaurna land by myself (violin), Maria Zhdanovich (flute), Clara Gillam Grant (cello), Ella Beard (viola) and everyone in the space. This piece is a reflection upon a walk I took where I attempted to realise Pauline Oliveros' above sonic meditation, but also upon the thoughts, memories, both shared and individual to do with walking, listening, safety and sound. I wrote this work with the performers bodies in mind, the sounds they like to make, and a focus upon collective breath and collective sounding (listening out loud). I hope for this score to provide all who bear witness to a performance, with a caring, invitational, guided improvisatory framework.
Live recording by Kobe Donaldson - August 4, 2022.
SALA Artist Statement.
What does it mean to take a walk at night as a femme person in a world that has urged us not to? How can we truly listen when our breath rushes through our ears and our bodies reject the call to silence from a need to assert ourselves as we move through public space?
One of Oliveros’ most quotable Sonic Meditations, the above 2 instructions invite the practitioner to enter the unique sonic world of the night soundscape, where the details of the world are diminished visually and sonic details become enlivened. At Night the Whole World Hums is a musical response to this text score, written for small chamber ensemble, recounting the sounds heard, the movements and the sensations experienced in solitary walking as a femme person. Incorporating elements of psychogeography, (the mapping of emotional contours of space), text notation and improvisation, At Night the Whole World Hums seeks to immerse the listener in both personal and collective memories of walking alone at night, recounted through the performers’ combined musical languages.
In performance, audience/participants will be invited to contribute sounds of breathing and humming, entangled with the sounds of the instrumentalists - Thea Martin (violin), Ella Beard (viola), Clara Gillam Grant (cello) and Maria Zhdanovich (flute).