Field Work: Exodo and Soundwalking

Dip into the creative processes of two of CAAD’s summer projects, Exodo and Soundwalking. This week we bring you some of their sonic discoveries…


Daniel Dones


cementerio |Cemetery


the closest symbolic border

extant in the States


twixt life and death

we meandered through the graves

spoke power into their names

perhaps some of those names were spoken

for the first time in ages?

epochal disappearance

remedied in an instant.

but we do not know their stories.

so we wrote atop a glaring hill

to try and tell our own

a glaring hill

that glares upon the rails

and glares upon the trails

of el rio.

where so many go to travel

perhaps unaware

of their motionless friends

beneath la tierra.

so we wrote and wrote and wrote

and we walked and walked and walked

and we told our stories

in a mausoleum

to those who would listen.

i stared into the bust

of a man long passed

crafting melodies

of the folds in his stone clothing.

singing life into the stillness

allowing death into our song–


Simaya Speed

Image courtesy Wikipedia

Image courtesy Wikipedia

Time warp back to the late 90s. The Flaming Lips slurped up surround sound recording and spat out Zaireeka. Really funky. The album was dispersed across 4 CDs, in the sense that, if you played them all at the same time, you’d hear a multi-tiered sonic phenomena whose atmosphere and conceptual wormhole was literally the sum of its parts – in potency, in intensity. Sonic harmony and sonic juxtaposition emerged even if only playing two or three of the discs simultaneously. What’s psychedelic about this album is that it encapsulates a sonic “choose your own adventure” path – it takes the concept of 360 degrees sonic architecture and underscores how sound is based upon perspective. We generally think of the spatial perspectives that compose the information traveling through a sound wave, but The Flaming Lips illuminated how, by extension, this sound can be seen as a single perspective on the information it carries – the perspective is unavoidable. We taint all information we absorb through perception based upon previous cognitive associations. These associations are malleable, but whether or not one has any associations is not. By playing the discs in any order of preference, selecting which sonic combinations to expose yourself to first, you choose how you will interpret the album – which associations come first and then later. You construct the sonic architecture of the pieces as you listen to it; who can say your interpretation is wrong? Zaireeka was made with the idea of stitching together anarchy, instability, and joyous discovery. I think that connecting these two easily abstracted notions is powerful. In my experience, discoveries of value and autonomy are born from revolting against those and that wishing to silence you. Only through anarchy and the political act of continuing to take up space, breathing without reason, can the discovery be joyous for you. Oftentimes, approaching the new means stripping down the hesitations and concerns that came with the old.

Is the “full album” one of the discs with the other albums acting to accentuate? Which disc is it? Is the “full album” all of the discs together? Well, what if I don’t have 4 boomboxes? If I only listen to two of the discs simultaneously, can that be the “full album” for me?

What is the full album, and why does that definition matter if you would gain more from developing your own perspective and actively trying to connect it with those of the others around you in order to get the full idea – rather than trying to swallow it on your own, in a small room with four subwoofers?

I am thinking about ownership that is temporarily superimposed onto spaces. I am thinking about reclaiming. I am thinking about choosing how to reclaim. I am thinking about how to show others their choice to reclaim. I am thinking of all the ways they can reclaim creatively and personally, reclaiming in a way that I have not laid out for them. These thoughts excite me; I’m eager to let people breathe in the way they crave, destabilize in the ways they fear the most. Choosing your adventure may be a bit of a misnomer; the adventure is in choosing at all.

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