In a way, we can describe thoughts as rhythmic pulsations, and the way that we think is to leap from one rhythmic pulsation to another to create images. The body, in its capacity to sense and describe, is a maker of meaning, forming postures and forming words. Language is a physical force, striking the eardrum as sound waves which our body mechanism translates into the recognizable form of words, words that ignite, entice, nurture or engulf. Words describe and identify abstract ideas and feelings making them tangible intellectually and emotionally. Words surround meaning, trace the periphery of meaning. Never existing in the same place, time or form, words remain separate from meaning and act as tools. Words shape the way we perceive and articulate meaning. Words can act to distort and disguise, or to clarify and reveal. They can be abrasive and sharp, or soft and lulling, sweet, pliable or foul. Words can be piled, calipered, hung and strung, strummed, wrinkled, wet and warm, vulnerable – having to exist in a protective environment. They may be biting or gagging, extruded or extracted. They can meander, wiggle, become lodged, fill voids or be specially wrapped. There are gaps between them.


My sound sculptures and installations explore the origins of language, challenge the authority of language for making meaning and invite participants to play within compositional strategies to make or disrupt meaning. I am interested in synesthesia, complex relationships between language, landscape and the subjectivity of place, and the poetic potential of the decay of language through acts of translation. My creative practice involves a synthesis of sculpture, experimental music and feminist linguistic theory.

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Currently I am using sympathetic resonance as a metaphor and as a means of sound propagation in my work. I am exploring the intersection of nature and technology by combining various natural materials with conductive materials, such as conductive embroidery threads, to make functioning electronic speakers. Building technology in the field, making such things as ‘leaf speakers’ and ‘seed speakers’, amplifying the sounds of nature, and introducing compositions as interpretations of the landscape, I am experimenting with what natural materials make good membranes for moving air and translating digital audio files into airwaves that can be heard. In a related body of work, I have been researching and learning to play traditional and folk musical instruments that utilize sympathetic resonance. From that experience, I design and build experimental musical instruments as sculptures to be used in performance. With these experimental instruments, I engage collaborators (writers, musicians, artists) to compose and perform with me. My work is becoming more performative in nature, engaging new skills in composing, performing, and directing collaborations. Most recently I have been cultivating opportunities to perform in sound art festivals, produce audio CD/booklets, and present my work within venues that allow my work to straddle both music and visual art.

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I'm Irvin!

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