Jaap Blonk – Traces Of Speech


CD – Kontrans

Jaap Blonk is a Dutch visual/stage performer and avant-garde composer whose work is often located at a highly poignant intersection between visuals and sound poetry. Traces of Speech involved the creation of sounds by importing drawn characters (as raw data) into audio software. Blonk also created texts by using Optical Recognition Software (OCR) to convert the drawings into English and German words. All three elements of the piece (drawings, audio, texts) were then subjected to additional processing. Organized into seven parts, each with its own theme and handmade drawing (plus digitally manipulated iterations), the book was completed with two different versions of the OCR texts. Recitations of the texts are combined with electronic elements and rendered in “seven different sound environments”. The CD is available as a reprint by Kontrans and the book can be downloaded as a PDF. Blonk’s live performances are well known for their humour and lightness of interpretation. Given that Traces of Speech is based on poetry, we cannot demand an excessive focus on “accuracy”, but the author’s desire to create pleasing connections gives the work a sense of following the principles of inter-disciplinary art. Phonetic experimentation and oratorical invention aren’t new things in avant-garde movements, but here these elements are re-interpreted with new shades of colour, placing the work somewhere between intermedia and multimedia artistic research.


JAAP BLONK im Buchhändlerkeller und Sprachspuren beim HYBRIDEN VERLAG in Lichtgeschwindigkeit 2663