deaf, not mute

with Ensemble Contrechamps
Geneva: 5/11/19
Basel: 6/11/19
Sion: 7/11/19
Huddersfield: 22/11/19
Barcelona: 22/1/20

The outdated term ‘deaf-mute’ implies the Deaf can’t have a voice, and got Christine Sun Kim thinking when it was used to describe her. In English, mute means 'on-off' in the context of technology (binary), ‘voiceless’ as described by non-disabled people, and ‘soften’ in the musical context (nuanced). Players were therefore asked to develop 5 levels of muteness for their instruments with mechanical means, to allow playing with full energy but with a sound result ‘muted’ to various degrees.

The score is made of captions taken from TV and film (captions are the part of subtitles placed in (brackets) to describe sound). Christine collected them over time and classified them in 6 categories that define the structure of the composition. As conductor of the performance, she displays the captions on screen and musicians respond to them. Sound is not important for its acoustic qualities in this work. It is rather a vehicle for meaning, a material element within a process of musical and artistic expression, and a voice.

I VOICES: 10 (8)’
II FEELS: 5 (4)’
V STUFF: 8 (6)’
V1 STOPS: 6 (4)’

4 channel audio
6 midrange speakers
4 subwoofers
1 video projector and screen
1 microphone per instrument

Photos by Mathieu Epiney and François Volpé