Contact me?
Sound and Performance
The Sound Library
To Make the Sound of Fire
Full Metal Jackets I And II
Room Tone
Art After Death
Chat Rooms

“Suprasegmental,” created in collaboration with artist Joseph Grigely, is comprised of a live, partially-scripted, 60-minute telephone conversation between a deaf person and a hearing person (Grigely and myself), and a lecture on art and language. Grigely and I conduct an amplified telephone conversation while sitting at opposite ends of a long table, each with a meal to eat while chatting. To communicate by phone, we use a Relay Operator, (also known as a Voice Carry-Over operator, or VCO), who mediates the conversation one of two ways: she/he transcribes my speech, which appears as on a TDD (telephone device for the deaf) machine visible to Grigely on the table between us. (Grigely responds vocally and I listen). When Grigely chooses to type rather than speak, the operator reads to me his speech, as well as types my reply back. A video camera is trained on the TDD’s LED display and the signal fed to a projector, which displays the text on a screen behind us.

In the manner of a Comedy of Errors, the audience is privy to the communicative desires of all three members of the conversation: Grigely, the Relay Operator, and myself). They read and listen to the Operator's version (sometimes abbreviated, edited, or misspelled) of what has been said, understood, mis-said, and misunderstood. The conversation proceeds at the pace conditioned by an operator who frequently interrupts me, asking me to slow down, spell words, or wait while another operator comes in to replace him/her. Sometimes an operator will provide a commentary of her own to Grigely as she transcribes my utterances, suggesting how he might respond to me.

Our conversation is unscripted, but its topics pre-chosen to be relevant to the act being performed (discussion of various sound memories, audiological experiments on Minah Birds, songs, trivia, television episodes, our personal lives). It includes a live, partially-scripted, 60 minute telephone conversation between a deaf person and a hearing person (Grigely and myself), followed by a lecture on our own art work, and other work by artists interested in speech and language.

Suprasegmental, 1999
Commissioned by and presented at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Fall 1999.