Glossolalic Media -
Active Archive or Oracle
Along the multitudes of the spoken word culture, if we never carved their alphanumeric abstractions - which media could have emerged in this speculative reality? A reality which is dominated by fine forces such as intuition and comfortable with uncertainty. I slipped into its dimension through the time-space discontinuum of imagination to find myself like a Nestinari before her possession by the saints close to the water spring that facilitates the visions. In the village of Kosti, there are beautifully unspectacular places of worship of the elemental and divine. I take the inspiration for the existence of such a place of cult and worship to the spoken word and the oral collection of influences from this spring flowing with holy water (image 1). What is hidden behind this piece of metal cover is the ‘аязмo’ (cyrillic aiazmo) of St. Helene. I fantasize that the metal sheet hides a snub cuboctahedron out of concrete, empty inside, a singing stone as German ethnomusicologist Marius Schneider would put it. We would pilger to speak to the concrete cuboctahedron, we would empty our minds into it or listen. Listen into it, consult its humming, singing, vibration.
Taken from a cosmogony that worships the stone, the stone column and the tree trunk, spreading its architecture in places from northern Africa, the Iberian islands to Sweden, this singing stone originates in the megalithic. To understand singing stones, it is worth knowing how death was perceived during the megalithic. To die means to solidify, to fossilise, turn into stone, to fall silent, become hollow…the dead were put to rest in stone coffins, in crevices and in tree trunks - the dark space of voidage being their actual place, answering to their nature. Around the graves the living set up stone statues, pillars for the dead to join in cult practices. The lithified dead are sounding sacrificial caves, the resonance bodies for creative and generative songs, the songs of life. (Schneider, 1985) The stones have to be activated, brought into vibration to revive the dead, as a priestess you sacrifice your life-giving breath to a song - the songs of your words, memories, influences which fertilise the dead. The snub cube has a microphone to record which ever influence you bring to it, when its membrane starts vibrating from your voice the device starts recording your spoken memories to play them back inside of it… it is programmed to fulfil the physical abilities of concrete which is to losslessly reflect sound to 99% without absorbing any of its energy. Motivated by the demands of the highly idealised immaterial world of the physical experiment, the real concrete uses a computational prostheses to aspire to reach its potential (against the friction of reality). Computation is employed to facilitate the mystical; either way, the one of science or in service of the ritual.
It works similarly to Alvin Lucier’s most known piece I Am Sitting in a Room (1969) where he plays back a recorded spoken word sequence in a regularly sized room only to simultaneously record how it sounds inside this room. This one is being replayed in the same room to be recorded again and played back again until the voice cannot be recognised anymore and what remains is the multiplied acoustic quality of the room.
The spoken words reverberating in the snub cube are layered and saved, fed back into it, the sound never ceases - multilayered tongues are inscribing themselves into the stone, from its inside. Energetically they are training the atoms to get used to them.
The spoken word materialises as stone, activates the dead archimedean solid, a complex expansion of a cube - even though not based on the tetrahedral, still part of a synergetic process. Like the terms reverberating inside, the shape is part of synergetic system, it’s single parts cannot predict the sound to come, they are arrangements of mutually linked experiential memories. The shape that contains them connects them to the cosmic book of thought. We know from Goldilock’s use of cosmic thought communication in Tetrascroll that this is where one does not have to look up words in special language dictionaries. (Fuller, 1977) The multilayered tongues enact a synergistic genesis inside the & your hollow solid
The collective memory container emits noise that needs interpretation. The one who auditions it decodes it. A medium that demands of us an imaginative act, saves us from falling victim to the spectacle.
Rooms that are supposed to seal sound or closed rooms that contain sound, where sound is unfolding are usually ritual rooms - like the cave of Hypogeum in Malta (2400 v.Chr.). A room resembling an oracle or a shrine. In eye height on the wall there is a carving shaped like a Helmholtzresonator that vibrates only in a certain frequency. Echo suggests an even greater mystery. Hall effect and echo provide the illusion of sound as something permanent, whereas sound only exists in the future, it is on the move, can not be stopped, paused or caught in a moment, cannot be held by the ears unlike a picture can be transfixed by the eye. Who can capture sound has a certain authority. I interpret that there is authority in the magic of captured sound as in Babylonian mythology there are hints of a specially constructed room in one of the ziggurats where whispers stayed forever. There is a similar room (still in existence) in the Ali Qupu in Isfahan, though in its present derelict state it is difficult to know how it was supposed to have worked. Presumably its highly polished walls and floors gave sounds an abnormal reverberation time. In an ancient Chinese legend a king has a secret black box into which he speaks his orders, then sends them around his kingdom for his subjects to carry out. (Schafer, 1977) Capturing and preserving living sound is our ancient ambition as a strategy of the powerful. In archiving sound as an act of authority the captor of sound is authoritative. Archiving Glossolalia then, is a reclamation of that mystical authority, meaning the each person who interacts, contributes to the power of this practice - as an ingredient and instigator of our collective voice.
Hypothesis of the object:
The voice spoken into the hollow solid reverberates like many tongues, layered and mixed. Listen with headphones and invite the voices of
spirits, demons, or whatever your interpretation into your body infesting you with inspiration.
The image shows a model, an Archimedean hollow solid out of concrete dimensions 50x50cm (approx) including a microphone, a speaker inside, a battery and a plug for headphones. The reverberation code runs on raspberry pie.