A day of SoundCulture (continued)
Kathy Kennedy's "The Blue Pathway"
On a busy Saturday afternoon in a fairly ordinary Californian outdoor shopping
mall, a small low-power radio transmitter sits in a tree near the center.
About 15 performers tune their portable radios to the frequency of the transmitter,
and position themselves somewhat sparsely around the walkways. Each performer
also has an instrument (a woman to my left sings; Oliver Di Cicco, the instrument
designer, plays his "neo-bullroarer;" a woman sits behind me loudly
chewing carrots and spitting watermelon seeds; another across from me plays
a flute.) As a tape plays through the transmitter, the performers react
to one another, to the broadcast sound coming from their radios, to the
environment as a whole.
Unsuspecting shoppers wonder what is going on: they stop to read signs
which explain that this is a soundwalk composition, meant to awaken new
perspectives of listening.
These elements create a light sonic web - a subtly new acoustic matrix which
draws our ears. A voice speaks to us from the radios:
- Listen, listen - Listen! what do you hear around you? Footsteps. The
hushed mumbling of the other walkers... The wind in the trees. On your face.
Crackling of pebbles and branches under your feet. The distant roar of industry,
technology, progress. Listen, listen - Listen! The sound of your breath
as you walk. You can even hear your own clothes make noise; cotton, leather,
and nylon rubbing against each other as you move. Listen, listen - Listen.
Cage is known to have said that when he entered the sound vacuum he could
still hear the sound of his own nervous system, and of the blood flowing
through his veins. Are you trying? Can you hear that? Keep on - and don't
even bother to look in front of you. You don't really need to find where
you want to go. Let your instincts steer you through the trees, from a dark
place to a light one, from a cluttered, enclosed space to a clearing.
- Keep on. That's what we have to do most naturally, on all levels.
Find for ourselves a path that leads to clarity.
- a slight transformation of space.
This is not an everyday shopping experience...
The new sounds cause the atmosphere to shift just slightly, and people who
are listening are reminded and made freshly aware of often ignored senses.
Shoppers seem to smile and pause to listen and watch; children ask what
we are doing.
This shift of atmosphere is subtle but profound as the shoppers' individual
North-American-personal-boundary-spheres open slightly in response to this
inviting new matrix of sound and performers. The slightly opened spheres
let in more light, smells, sounds...
a smile, ..... here ..... and ..... there -