This week I somehow managed to make a 2 hour and 27 min sound edit for one section (there are 9 sections in total)—SEXUAL POLITICS—of Love Sounds, a 24 hour oral history/soundscape of love in cinema. It was grueling but endlessly satisfying. I love procedural work.
I sent the edit to my mother last night for feedback. Over Skype this afternoon we discussed how the immaterial trilogy, of which Love Sounds is the final installment, evolved conceptually, thematically, and immaterially—each installment using a new digital (and printed) approach and social media platform. I told my mother that from a young age (when my dream was to make installations, video work, and films) I always knew writing, writing “on the page,” was not enough; was a limiting, narrow, dated, and provincial use of form and content in the 21st century (singular forms in general seem problematic to me at this stage), which is so multi-media. That we have to “write” in more imaginative ways, using new forms.
My mother, who is the best reader and critic, responded by telling me that by only using audio from movies, by moving away from the retinal arts, by not just writing on the page, by relying only on active and radical (re)listening, by making the project 24 hours, by using sections as “chapters” in which to work through narratives and constructs above love, sex, gender, mourning, and death, I am in fact rewriting/renewing/reforming the epic novel—the book—where you imagine and think, without looking or seeing.
Yeah, I said. Why write a novel as an actual book, a book as an actual book, always using printed text? Or why think of texts in such literal ways. Why not write a novel about the world through sound? Using the “sounds” (texts) we’ve made. Why do we keep doing the same thing in the same ways when we can do something new and different. When there is already so much existing material to wade through, archive, and rework.
As Goethe put it, “Everything has been thought of before but the difficulty is to think of it again.”