This is a Voice – writing in perspective


This exhibition was recommended by Simon Wrigley during our lunch conversation on Wednesday. It was the site of his writer’s group meeting a week before my arrival. My visit was squeezed between events on my tight schedule and suggested a written response in perspective.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 8.06.00 am

Over the last few days, I’ve been struggling with writing a coherent piece inspired from this exhibition. The experience itself was surprisingly less overwhelming than you would think, and I found myself immersed in many interesting moments.


Beautifully curated, you are drawn further into the beguiling sounds and spaces that represent multiple perspectives over time and across disciplines. I wrote notes responses and emotions – key words, phrases – and collected these in some order, though the ideas that were gelling became completely lost once I left the space.

Immediately outside, is the Wellcome cafe, and ironically, the diners and coffee drinkers created more of a cacophony than the various voices. I slowly wandered into the gift shop, but felt my writing momentum seeping form me in every step. I thought time would help …

It wasn’t until I spoke with Theresa Gooda on Friday, June 17, that this settled: Theresa mentioned how it’s important, when writing alongside students and it comes to a sharing moment, to admit that you’re not happy with what you have been writing. This authentically represents the process of writing and that we must also accept that sometimes things aren’t working.

Here, then, are some unfinished thoughts, ideas, emotions and descriptions that may be revised. Would it be too far to suggest I might leave this until I take my students when the exhibition is in Sydney in 2017?

Circular Song

  • llistening bell and intonations like a plea for help, stridor, in – out, up + down scale, almost musical, with some screen backdrop reminiscent of human lungs, soft loud, insistent, long and drawn, fading, labouring, pleading, reedy

voice disguiser

  • looks like a dolls toy – rattle, red beads, balck hair, vacant stare, bone, carvings, inscriptions

somewhat overlapping but not like a cacophony – more blended, especially if you stand still and allow yourself to focus on different elements and moments

gentle, not overwhelming – contemplative, but puzzling

Five hertz alphabet

  • lends itself to song, chords vibrate so automatic changing pitch, spoken – automatically ‘sings’, research shows preferences for ending on a low note, complex or irregular phrasing creates rhythm, sounds like a vocal warm-up

To shout until exhaustion

  • unnerving, sorrow, mum’s voice, mountain top, desparate, on a hill, begging, pleading – again into that void

Greg Whitehead

  • pressed up against the wall, secrecy, instructions: say it, say it without using your tongue, say it without opening your mouth, say it without using your larynx “The problem with bodies is the reason for antibodies, and the problem with antibodies is no bodies at all”.

Samuel Beckett

  • the disembodied voice – like Under Milkwood or All That Fall – insistent quick paced female voice – b/w close up of lips and teeth speaking wiht nearby ‘hearing bell’ cone of silence clear perspex “hahahaha – not softening – suffering

recording booth

  • automatically pitched myself low down – looping back in and out – natural decline? obvious denouement?

cafe of cacophony

Download a gallery guide here This is a Voice

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