BELLA There is a famous quote from the Bible: “In the beginning, it was the word”. What is being said here is that the first thing that perhaps existed was the sound. And from the sound, other things were formed. Sound itself is matter, in the sense of being the substance of something that is prior to the thing, or to things themselves. And electromagnetism is what makes the connection between things – it forms the matter.
We could take any object and encode it into sound. Sound has a malleability. So, depending on the objects we place in a space, it will be more or less absorbed by these elements. Sound is adaptable, and from the moment it can be contained, it is a form in itself. Within the void there is sound. All things around us are sounds.
ANAIS Sound is this uninterrupted presence. That unclosed circuit .
BELLA Yes, totally…
ANAIS In the contact between sound and other matters (based on this idea that sound is matter) there is an interruption.
At the same time, the question of the soul comes to me. Is there a soul in things? I keep thinking that there is an existence. There are “existentes” (existing ones). Sound is an “existente”, just like other things, including humans.
BELLA I believe that everything that has life has sound.
ANAIS What hasn’t life? Every problem is concentrated on this separated category of life and non-life. For science, sound isn’t life. Sun either isn’t life. For science, life is defined as things who are born, grow, reproduce and die. It limits our perception about the world. So, it only remains for us one option: say that these other lifeless beings have a soul, it is the only way to give them a subjective category.
It is interesting to think about these negotiations with scientific discourse, that establishes a truth. We appropriate it to talk about the truth of things, putting it together with the subjective discourse that says “sound is life”.
JU From this question, about sound and matter, I thought about movement. About a relationship between sound, matter and movement, and also about the apprehension of sound. About our attempts to register the things of the world. When we apprehend a sound and record, transforming the matter, we give to this the capacity to have a greater temporal resonance. A possibility of modulation, not only in relation to the sound, but also in the way we interact and produce the sound. This interferes with the relationship we create between us and the things in the world.
BELLA We record and register, generating a file, a memory. Files, and electronic waste too.
ANAIS In general our relationship with sound is timeless. The relationship with music and sound constantly brings the relationship of non-linearity of time, there is a temporal detachment in the sound. Sound is uncontrollable on the one hand, but at the same time the relationship with technology makes it controllable. When you listen to a sound file, for example, different temporalities coexist…
Is there a present? Maybe there isn’t the here-and-now-real.
BELLA The wall has memories.
ANAIS It’s all previous. And that brings us to the idea of the first sound. There are several mythologies that bring this idea that life originates from sound.
I wanted to hear from Ju what she thinks about “archives”.
JU I think the sound of the world itself is a big archive, because we decode things from the sound, we establish sense from this. Thus, we elaborate a meaning for things from the sound (for people who have the privilege of listening), considering spaces and sensations. The archive can also be a way to update the relationship we have with the world, even if it’s in that past-time condition. Although I don’t think it’s there, the archive is timeless and can be a gear to run things and define how they exist and how they can exist.
BELLA Now I remembered the experience of being pregnant, and my experiments I made playing sounds to the fetus inside the belly. The baby’s connection to the mother’s sound is a kind of file that is being updated as well. Sound as something prior to the thing, and that creates an affective bond, as memory, as archive.
ANAIS I wonder if this relationship with the archive, associated with the sound, doesn’t have a kind of soul manifestation… an energetic manifestation of a past presence, which reactivates the presence of soul.
BELLA What do you call a soul?
ANAIS I can’t see a separation between spirit and soul. These are just expressions. I don’t think of the spirit, neither the soul, as an object, a ghost, or a person. It’s about an energetic presence, which has a very big parity with sound, which is a vibrating presence. I believe that the existence of all things is in how they manifest, transform, and how they relate in an affective and temporal way, carrying their memories.
The Western view about animism is very limited. Animism is understood as “everything has life” and “everything has a soul”. Western thought believes that the human being controls the existence of things in the world, assigning the right to give or not a soul for them. But the thought of animism goes far beyond this. To animism it is impossible to differentiate human beings from other things, life from non-life. Soul is “something” that transits and can inhabit everything.
We think we act in the world as individuals, but I think we operate in the world beyond ourselves.
Soul is not something you can possess or associate with an identity, a body. For example, we can’t simply assign a soul to a pen.
Sound is a presence, a vibration, an energy… For me the soul is that too.
(Things change “in relation to”).