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What is that noise?

12 - 27 May 2018


Why do you never speak? at the Horsebridge Arts Centre forms part of an Arts Council England commission informed by T S Eliot’s famous poem The Waste Land (1922). The overall project involved two artists. My part was the sound work What is that noise? described below by the curator Mirka Kotulicova.


"This new, immersive sound installation, What is that noise? draws on voices of the multiple characters found in Eliot’s text and layers readings by community members into a difficult, fragmented audio field. This methodology alludes to the almost impenetrable complexity of the poem and considers the intricacies of the intellectual property of the long dead, authorship of reciters, new interpretations and dissemination of old works. No voice is inviolable.


In the What is that noise? recordings, the words are hollowed out and the usually muted ambient sounds, involuntary sighs and subject noises are preserved, rattling as the ‘stony rubbish’ and ‘a heap of broken images’ in the poem. Eliot’s rich language is squeezed dry, coherence and understanding are thwarted - these are the characteristics of The Waste Land as a piece of modern literature, a state of mind and a state of the world that reverberate through Harriet Gifford’s piece."


Conceived and created for a 5:1 surround installation in the gallery, now mixed for stereo listening.

Use headphones for best results.

Why do you never speak? performance

Why do you never speak? performance

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