Jason Kahn – Space Text Sound

spacetextsound

Editions, ISBN: 978-3033060722, English, 244 pages, 2017, Germany

“How can words convey a sense of place?” This is a relevant question not only for our visually obsessed society in general, but for sound art in particular where textual material is involved. Jason Kahn (you can read his interview in Neural #55) pays great attention to text in his installations, especially those which can be qualified as “site-specific”. This book includes the text of three of Kahn’s installations: “An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Hong Kong (After Perec)”, “Drifting” (both released in 2016), and “Other Ghosts” (in 2015). Here he compares the practice of “reading between the lines” with “hearing between the sounds”, as every text reinforces the sounds described, but, surprisingly, is still valid on its own. So, avoiding to classically define this book as the “libretto” of those installations, we can instead freely dive into the sound evoked by the words, completely assimilable to a specific type of sound poetry. They effectively serve one of Kahn’s major principles: “transmitting a sense of place”. In his opinion it’s not just an aesthetic quality, but a political one, as a rising awareness of the space leads to better chances to fight alienation and increase solidarity. In addition, this book should be read in relation to its original production (the installations), but if it should be found by accident, and we ignore its references, it’d still be a fascinating poetry book about unexpectedly heard sounds, describing a whole series of engagements. In its own right, it can be seen as a music release in words.

 

  • Jason Kahn // For Voice
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