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In a Manner of Speaking (2017)

Collaborative performance for Performing, Writing an interdisciplinary research symposium coordinated by Julianna Preston at Massey University Wellington New Zealand March 2017

Dear Readers
This presentation is a participatory reading of an experimental score. You should all have a copy of the score. The reading should last about 10-15 minutes. First, we will spend two minutes listening to all the sounds of this place, the SPCA (The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), to orient ourselves to our sonic context and to consider the building’s varied history as a hospital for tuberculosis sufferers, a chest hospital, a music department and finally a place that supports the humane treatment of animals. Aspects of these incarnations are embedded in the concerns of this score (lungs and the breath, sound/music, animals), so this place is highly appropriate as a site for this participatory reading and voicing event. After two minutes of listening, I will start sounding this score and hope you will join in with me.

The score is a speculative attempt at considering language across species in the urban context. It is constructed using a mix of listening and reading while moving through the city, in this case Melbourne Australia. It is focused on listening to bird and human voices while reading common texts around the city – traffic signs, advertising, street and business names etc.
There is no need to read linearly or consecutively and you are encouraged to move around the score, pausing on one part or one word that particularly appeals to you before moving on. I encourage you to respond to the sounds of your neighbour, the sounds in the room, in the building and any external sounds you can hear. This reading or sounding is not about virtuosity or accuracy, as you will hear from my own attempts, and nor is it about deceiving the birds. Rather it is about listening, voicing, improvisation and imagination.

I have also brought ten Audubon bird whistles which some of you may prefer to use instead of or as well as reading. The complex sounds these simple whistles make are like generic sounds of songbirds

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Corvus corvix, Corvus corvix, Corvus corvix, Corvus albicollis,