Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Celeste Boursier and "One Word"

Posting this on behalf of Jake Saunders...

This installation by Celeste Boursier always fascinated me.  Not just because I love guitar sounds, but the random and breathing element of the piece is exciting. The sounds produced by the birds take on a truly organic and in the moment atmosphere.  This piece is another example of someone using a room as an instrument.  Much like the piece that Harlan and I are envisioning in which we turn a practice room into an instrument, this piece attempts to turn another space into a musical form of expression.  In Boursier's piece the birds become a music making variable which completely alter the space and it's function.  Harlan and I will be using rehearsing musicians as our external variable to add to the space's apparent function.  

I performed Pauline's simple piece from Sonic Meditations entitled "One Word":

Choose a word.  Listen to it mentally.  Slowly and gradually begin to voice this word by allowing each tiny part of it to sound extremely prolonged.  Repeat for a long time.

The piece's simplicity is what made performing it a unique experience.  I found it interesting that I was urged to synchronize my breathing with the word, as well as the habit to silently mouth the word.  As time went on the word began to sound different, and hold a different meaning.  My perception of the word changed in that I recognized the word more as a sound, an object, a simple blip in space rather than a symbol that holds an external meaning.  It reminded me of a poet's ability to change the shape of a word and the meaning it holds by putting it in a different context.  Something else I thought about after I performed the piece was that I am rarely every prompted to focus on the thoughts in my head so closely.  It seems as though that voice in my head can never be silenced as long as I'm awake, but when I narrowed my mental attention down to a single syllable my body became relaxed and I was able to come out of the experience with a feeling of calm serenity.  


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience of performing my piece - One Word. I appreciated your thoughts.

  2. I love the multiple angles and qualities of perception, attention, and meaning that you explored through performing One Word.