Present (TOR-ROT)


Other versions: Present (je me te parle)Present (MTL-HFX), Present (OTT).

Contribution to the symposium titled Doing Sounding Exchaning Thinking: The Auditory Experience of the social at Foundation B.a.d in Rotterdam, Holland.

Curated by thickear.

October 31, 11h00-17h00, free.

A study in long distance ventriloquism.

Teleloquism, speaking here and there. Having your voice voiced by another, not hearing your voice in the room where your words are being spoken, not being in the same room as your voice.

What happens when my voice splits into me and you? Detached feedback. Speaking but not hearing yourself back, truncated listening.

What happens when your listening is divided by what you hear and the silent gaps that shape what you hear? Conversing with the thin air. A monologue duet, a pas de deux sans two.

Words of one, voice of another, one hole. Attached aliens. Remote control, who takes charge of the conversation? Who is responsible? How will intonation, hesitation, and accent translate?

Remotely in control, barely holding on to the tenets of discourse. The voice you hear speaks words without thought.

The thoughts come from outside and from elsewhere. Here and there, but also now. Live deferral. Postponed presence, I am there while here.

It is later there than here. We are accustomed to that, the present is a plural that moves.


[phone rings twice]


So…I guess we’re…we’re here…aah-and umm…I mean you’re here and…and, um… and I-ah I can hear myself…but the voices um…well yeah there seems to be something different.

So…it’s my voice but they’re not my words. And that’s making me a little bit nervous. Umm…It’s very internal in a way and you you probably can’t, you probably not noticing anything different really, you will have to take my word for it and…and…and well just imagine yourself in my position. Umm, I’m not sure if I am in front of you right now, maybe I should, I should, maybe I should put myself amongst you…umm…I guess I am moving in that direction and so now I feel a little bit more present. And even though I am not here really, umm, there is there is something also comforting about the gaps that, that the kind of stre-stretched hesitations, umm.

I guess the other way also is to separate my voice from my ears. What I guess what I mean is that if I don’t hear myself I can just speak and not worry about my voice, umm.

What I mean is that this voice that you are hearing now is saying words that are not there and they are not attached to the voice that you are hearing. It’s it’s really ultimately a a pretty basic set up. And the making strange of it, the the simple play of of of of separation between the voice and the words, the the person thinking the words relating to or making those words sound through another voice, especially a strangers voice, I am a stranger to you, and you’re a stranger to me, and I guess amplifying that or delaying that, relaying that, transporting that across the ocean that’s between us. I mean, I might be right I might be right beside you, but I’m actually uhh…farther than you think. Um, I ..can’t..I couldn’t even touch you if I tried.

So, I’ll just kind of drone on and on and pace back and forth something something about the droning, we see a lot of droning. This droning is not killing you. It has no intentions to kill you.

But there is something still deadly in that equation somehow, umm…

There is something kind of, you know we’re stuck in that basic introduction of me saying hello to you and I haven’t heard hello back from you yet. I guess I haven’t left enough space for that to happen.

Umm, yeah, I mean the, there is a significance ah, or I attribute some, a certain weight in the mundane act of saying hello, and I think of the instances where that can’t happen or is impeded from..from..from the occurrence of it is impeded. There are barriers to it. The most predictable one is language. Other ones are distance. But power, power comes into it pretty quickly. Ummm…

So there is a certain emptiness I think now in getting here.
Lan-languishing in the…I don’t know…I wish, I wish I could say all this to each one of you, one by one, whispering to your ears. They’re intimate, yet I don’t know, still removed still still not quite there.

Are you nervous for me? Are you…here or have you wandered away as well? You can wander you know, even while seated there. Umm, it’s okay um, I’m not expecting anything from you.

Did you expect anything from me?

I’ve changed bodies very, well, umm…I guess my words have changed bodies I am still here. My words are over there now and ss-something and kind of embarrassing maybe about this? No that’s not the right way to put it. Um…um I don’t know…well…yeah..

I’m wondering about the here and now that is now splintered.

I don’t know if you can tell that I am seeing things that I am listening to. I am not saying things that I am thinking. It’s kind of a, a shift, that you’re, uh well I’m a conduit now, you’re a conduit, or at least as a split self that um the spilt self, yea I am not not going to interpret that anymore than just say that. I I am not that invested in the self anyway.

Um, I’m I’m a, I’m going to drink a little bit of water now..ugghaa no no you’re no no no he’s he’s not drinking any water. Na I’ve had a sip of water, you haven’t had a sip of water yet. I’m not going to let you have any water yet.

Did do you see me drink some water? It’s earlier here. That’s not just because there is a time difference between my thoughts and your words. Or is it your thoughts and my words?

I guess getting back to that, getting stuck to the the hello, I mean another way to put it is is exactly this thing about voice, words, thoughts. They’re they’re fairly essential in the equation of this of presentness and I mean not that you have to use any of them, or, or you can use just some of them, or you can definitely play with them, umm, but

what what what to do with them and why? And, and what assumptions are there once you’re, once your you know you’re you’re unstuck and you’re you’re not don’t have that stilted, your stilted way of speaking that you’re hearing you’re hearing me use right now this it’s I am not I’m not talking to you the way I would talk to you normally. Umm, it’s, yea, I mean I I don’t see you, so I can’t, so that really hampers my ability to talk to you.

I like to depend on the visual in that way. I guess it’s not really the visual it’s the gestural it’s the physical, ummm.

Yea, I mean playing, playing with a situation is, is, be-is well this is the first in that play and I think to prefer ss-awkward situations that, ss-uhh umm, yea, ke-keep keep it to the simple but not simplistic parameters of a situation, what constitutes a situation. The site that you’re in the people in it the material, the….the way in and out of the situation.

So I’ve droned on, and I’ve paced back and forth and I’m still amongst you and but you are stranger or you’re stranged, no no, ummm yea, I I don’t know if what I have said has been heard in the way that I’ve said it and that’s oh-okay and that’s probably preferred that I’m not hearing what I am saying. It’s a monologue and well, its not quite a monologue is it? Ummm…

I Im going to put my glasses on, even though I’m not wearing glasses or I don’t need glasses or do I need glasses? Am I already wearing glasses?

Those are the kind of basic things I should know…that I…yeah.

So I’ve changed bodies. I am now, when I say ‘I’ I just mean my words I suppose they have some relationship to me but I’ve cast them away, they are in a strangers voice box coming out to you and I am here but over there and I mean that’s that has been possible for for decades now and and yea I-I-I as I said I mean its not really a technological novelty of it that interests me, it’s it’s kind of the burrowing inside of that relationship that is both internal and external solipsistic social umm

I mean I wonder how much I-I-I would speculate that you there who are hearing me now know me more than if ah, if you were in front of me because I have struggled

In the last few minutes from here.

Or is it there?

Okay Jack I’m hanging up.