Untitled, Polyphonic Social, Liquid Architecture (AUS)

Untitled, Performed at Polyphonic Social, Liquid Architecture. Melbourne, Australia.
April 2018

According to ancient Mayan codices, caves represent the maws of the earth. Entering those cavities was thought to be no different than entering the interiors of an animated being, a sentient space which was known to actively alter the normal state of the visitors. Though specific details about the types of situations that occurred in the caves do not exist, and based on archeological data are highly speculative, from a physical point of view we can deduce that the events were isolated from the sounds of the exterior and they provided a protected private space from outdoor public activities. Therefore, caves were unique acoustic experiences, distinct from the quotidian, “normal” way of both hearing and seeing.

The darkness and the irregularities of many of these hollow rocks reduced the clear intelligibility of both images and sounds as neat symbols. In dark, echoic caves, voices are stretched, bounced, and blended with the geometry of the rocks. Sounds and images are both dramatized and morphed from their original forms into ambiguous presences. As a result, caves produce a unique atmosphere where the literal appearance of voice and image are transformed into a different type of manifestation. In these places words and visual appearances are transformed into something other, beyond their straightforward functionality, these phenomena may take on new qualities. Qualities that they do not have in “normal” circumstances.

modern sacred constructions such as Mayan pyramids, Incan galleries, Christian catacombs and even contemporary religious temples such as churches keep sharing these dark echoic atmospheres, were sounds and images behave differently and even sometimes resisting to clear, straight forward understanding of words.

I wonder if there is anything sacred about this ancient echoes, I wonder about the relationship between the physical space, our voice and the echo in between. I wonder if there is any type of sacred language that strives from the transformation of words into something incoherent, I wonder if there is a type of sacred language that the space itself contains and that is up to us to learn and to use.

With the help of Camila Marambio we have created a type of conversation using the diffractive acoustic conditions of the chapel of the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourn Australia. by locating ourselves far from each other, leaning in distant walls of the chapel we were able to speak to each other without being able to understand each other completely because of the high reverberance of the site.

This type of situation forced us to find a different type of communication, far from our logical use of language, A type of spatial encounter that resisted our own intentions and agendas and that forced us to interact according to the space rules alone.

We converse differently in order to invoke a new type of language provided by the physical and mystical properties of the space itself.

pictures by Keelan O_Hehir

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