The future is without body, in the most literal sense. In an age of growing totalitarian surveillance states feeding off an increasingly hyper-represented public, to be bodiless is to be free. The digital arena provides a test pilot for this kind of freedom with all its unrestrained depravity and joy, the rehearsal stage for a future in which we are not merely the sum of our parts. But for now, the most we can do is play at it, as Ivana Basic says in a recent interview with aqnb, or play with it, as Hannah Black does in another. The disappearing body, however, is appearing all around us.
Sounds like… is not the first, maybe not even the umpteenth project to gain its origins in a wariness of bodily representation. In the last year alone, there was the Looks and Trace Bodies exhibitions at the ICA, SALT.‘s Manifesto issue and editor Jala Wahid‘s online exhibition Soft Ache at tank.tv, Czech-run Artyčok.tv‘s I turn the images of my voice in my head, and nearly everything Chez Deep has touched. The premise might not be new, but it echoes a growing anxiety in contemporary society, that the Sound like… organisers define as “the inescapibility of gazing and being gazed upon… the vulnerability of being imaged”.
The spring launch of the Sounds like… sonic project, launching at London’s IMT Gallery on May 28, comes as an attempt “to value the stuttering, blurting and screaming of our fallible bodies and machines”. To value, it follows, is to value the limits, and the project denies the demand for hyperstimulation, opting instead to invest in one sense: “the affective power audio, its ability to literally touch our atoms”. Kicking off with the first of the No Screening event series to coincide with their launch on May 28, the online publishing platform will consist of experimental performance podcasts designed by artists and collectives, released online for free listening and downloading. Swinging from music to poetry, to noise and sound installations, the podcasts address Sounds like…’s belief that sound is resistant: “[I]t is capturable but not always recuperable; it fails and it falls; it is strange and difficult. It is immediate and inherent: we are all born with our own voices and gurgling bodies. There is no silence, our world is not a vacuum.
The podcasts bring a range of talent, including London-based artist Cristine Brache, whose body-centric work was featured in the Gregory Kalliche-curated publication and two-person exhibition 57 Cell. For her podcasts, Brache brings ‘Hello Poetry Lovers and Degenerates’, featuring poetry readings by ten artists, including Holly Childs and Orion Facey, as well as ‘Title to Come’, a collection of orgasms made and recorded by various artists and writers, including Maja Malou Lyse, Arvida Byström, and Aurorae Parker.
Other podcasts include Sarah Boulton‘s ‘Never Ever’ and her ‘unlike living and love (remix of L&L 2015)’ songs, produced in collaboration with Benedict Drew and James Lowne. There are three poems by James Massiah, a new ‘Biothanatos’ running track by Rumi Josephs, Ulijona Odišarija‘s ‘I did it my way’, Freebury Williams as Flying Chavus, Reman Sadani’s ‘A prayer’, Shenece Liburd‘s ‘The AWW and the AHH’ and ‘MMMM’’) and Cassandre Greenberg‘s ‘( ) otherwise known as silence’. **