The following text is the result of a recent performance held in Hamburg. For the performance, the audience was invited to bring their favorite CDs, including music or field recordings or archival material. These were then played to two performers, a singer and a writer, who listened to the different CDs over headphones (the audience never heard what they heard). In response to what they were hearing, the singer spoke, sang, whispered, and made small performative gestures, while the writer described the sounds, the music, trying to convey to the audience the particular qualities. This writing was projected using an overhead projector. In addition, as a third performer, I sat a table with a computer and focused on what the other two were doing: I listened to the singer, her words and vocals, and I read what the writer wrote, his descriptions, his feelings about the sounds. In response, I wrote another text (which appears below) as a way to give narrative to the situation. I would pick up lyrics from the singer, I would grab a single word from the writer, and bring these together into a story. I became a storyteller, trying to incorporate this live material into my own thinking, my own memories, and to give to the audience a reflection of the very music they had brought to the event. The performance overall acted as a process of incorporation, a self-conscious staging of the CDs mirrored back to the audience, and yet modified through bringing their sounds inside, through a process of interpretation, digestion, and then back out again.
As a live piece of improvised writing, the text became a relational event—given that my writing was projected live as well, for the audience to witness as it unfolded, I became extremely aware of how the language used, the text itself, would become a space for the imagination. It became a point around which everything gathered, and in which I sought to also gather the singer, the writer, and the audience into a collective narrative. In this sense, the text is a sort of polyphonic literature for elaborating a story about sound, as well as invading this page you are reading with an echo of sounds no longer present. The text then is a memory of a sound event, which contains other memories—of drum teachers, of teenage life, of friends.