Repercussions: Cross Examinations

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Repercussions is a series of sound and image projection works (investigations) which examines how we speak and how we listen. The use of language and phonetics to create rhythms are a method to examine what we say and how we say it in hopes to understand meaning.

My interest in language, in retrospect, stems from a year in which I became a selective mute so my focus was on listening.

The title “Repercussions” refers to the aftermath of speaking and the beginning of listening/comprehension, the moment when speech ends and meaning sinks in. Repercussions a four part installation consisting of sixteen speakers and two video projectors. The volume of the sixteen speakers are computer controlled so that anyone or any combination of speakers are programmed to be active creating a dynamic movement and patterns of sound in space.. 

Repercussions: Cross Examinations (sound, video, photographs)

While studying phonetics and the physical mechanics of forming speech, the phrase “Stop the Voice, End the Movement” is used to indicate the end of speaking and the start of silence. In “Cross Examinations” this phrase, spoken by a male and female, is never heard in its entirety but understood by the end of the piece showing how the mind constructs something that doesn’t exist. 

The video woven with the sound is intended to display the fractures in our society today. Close up images of a male and female mouthing the words in the text are interspersed with images of demonstrations and riots, extreme close ups of the American flag blowing in the wind, trees bowing in a storm and other iconic images. The two screens carry much of the same image content but in a mirror image.

The installation also includes a series of framed photographs of spectrograph speech patterns taken from the audio track. The photos show the subtle differences between two voices uttering the same word in flowing colors reminiscent of undulating water.  

The last piece of the installation is a wall mounted video displaying the text of how to manipulate the tongue, teeth and jaw to produce the phrase “Stop the Voice, End the Movement”. ( This text is also read to an audience at the opening of the installation (and/or other times). It is a “call and response” piece. It is humorous to watch as members of the audience listen to the text, try to form their mouths into position and make a sound (usually incorrect).

These materials detail the unconscious methods in an attempt to bring to the conscious the complexities of what we say. Taken together, this work is intended to create not an atmosphere of debate (from the Latin de battuere, “to beat down”) rather to create an atmosphere of discussion (L. discutere, “to investigate”) which as a society we are currently lacking. 

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