A score is a set of instructions for a performance. Some scores, the most obvious ones, are used by musicians to play a composition. But other scores exist out in the everyday - recipes for instance! This score is for listeners, who are performers too. Choose a guiding voice and let your ear wander as you listen. Where does your attention go? Observe your attunements and wonder how they came to be.
Then create a score that instructs someone on how to listen like you and share it with a friend!
kinship composition is an experimental project delving into the murky undergrowth of memories, diasporic identities, and the struggle to find belonging. Components of this piece are gathered through a series of experiments in collective listening and collaborative composition with groups of folks from the South Asian diaspora living in the US. Participants bring sounds that represent memories, which are then crafted into a composition in collaboration with the others there. The re-composition of elements into a collective piece is transformative and healing, as it is rare to find spaces for sharing the joys, traumas, and contradictions of how we identify and how we are identified by others. Listening to one’s own sounds in relationship to those shared by others also creates new associations and possibilities for solidarity.
The artifacts below gather exercises from kinship composition sessions and speculative accomaniments to propose a deep-dive into one's multi-layered identities through sonic and aural means.
choose your guiding voice
These sonic memory ‘scenes,’ written by women of the Indian diaspora during an intimate gathering, conjure spirits of place distant in memory and swirling with complex emotions. As you listen and read, think about a place in your past you can no longer return to and add your sonic memories to the mix.
laughing openly and fully
throwing my head back
soft smiles in the hospital while holding back tears the patients
taking soft steps when walking in a room filled with white people
the only person of color very often.
that shared look and nod of the head when you see another person of color, and smiling warmly at them
but hoping that the white people don't think you have formed some sort of club
That change in perception
and that comfortable feeling in the eyes of the white people
when they hear you talk for the first time and realize you have an american accent.
when you question and wonder if you should hate that they feel that way, or feel glad that you dont have an indian accent.
that rush of happiness in your heart when you hear an indian accent and you feel like family is nearby.
even an african accent, for that matter, or any non-white accent, and feeling a sudden bond with that person.
hearing yourself laugh softly after saying something
to soften its blow, and feeling that as a man you wouldn't need to soften everything you say.
trying to not do that, and say things in a straightforward manner without judgment, and working towards that skill.
feeling that the doctors sometimes don't listen to what the patients are actually saying, and feeling that the doctors always cut them off. wondering how much the doctor hears of what you yourself say, since they sometimes answer your question with a completely different response. noticing how a person's tone of voice completely changes in the patient room versus outside of it
THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE
Ringing of the bells as my grandmother prays each morning
The rustle of footsteps in the kitchen, cupboards opening and closing
Metal cups clanging against the counter
Pss khht khht
Dogs barking in the distance as they fight over leftover food in the streets
Cars honking, motorcycles revving, and kids yelling and laughing
School bus turns the corner to pick me up from the front gate
Kids chattering, shrieking with bouts of laughter
Teacher walks into the classroom
Thup thup thup
Everyone rises up and in unison says “good morning madam”
The day continues on, chalk scraping against the board
kids flipping pages of the textbook
Birds chirping outside, signaling the day has beguna
With the waves of an ocean of people,
A droplet left on the beach,
Swiftly through the smell of haldi like the hummingbird,
I’ve arrived on the other end of the clicking time machine.
With the technical and static glitches of nature,
I walk on the dry leaves,
Crunching through each moment like a tiger on a hunt,
I’ve arrived to the sizzle of electrifying moments.
But here I am
Standing still in a strong wind
Listening to my ear ring and hair rustles with dry leaves
Imaging how you feel back home
With the comfort of cricket’s singing at night as you sleep.
TICKING TIME MACHINE
nidhi singh rathore
We compose our selves in kinship with others. What do you make of this composition and the people who created it?
Never have an identity crisis alone! Mash up your own thoughts and feelings into these introspective mad libs.
Sick of the hierarchy of accents and the colonial standardization of speech-sound? Contact the League for Sonic and Lingual Rematriation.
A declassified testimonial overviews the therapeutic process.