Genesis Victoria Performance and installation. Speaker, Subwoofer, Ropes, Wood, light.

Tied is a performance and installation piece for a suspended speaker, body and ropes. It is an artistic research which aims to create an intersection between art, intimacy and sexuality, reflecting on the power relations and the technologies of the senses, ancient and new ones. We could think of this suspension[1] as a way to observe the power relations that modulate our bodies, identities and practices, but also the social-technologies who shape it. This awareness allows us to reflect on subversive ways of inhabiting the world.  Furthermore, what is the place of desire and pleasure in sound? Which could be the technologies of it?

The question for pleasure in sounds drove to reflect on pleasure contemporary practices. I choose Shibari as a way to relate to the speaker in an embodied way. Kinbaku or Shibari have given space to this body awareness and identity exploration beyond a normative sexuality as a performative practice. The body loses its power position through restrain, knotting and suspension. This subvert the normative position of the body: the pressure of the knots changes the center of attention through it. The rigger is the agent of this transformation, embodies this knowledge and is responsible for it. Even though it traditionally origin in Japanese culture[2], Shibari is a common practice among feminist queer circles and body-workers and has become an empowerment art where consentment and mutual respect is fundamental. Accordingly, Shibari rigger has the function of the anomalous that created alliance between elements of the performance. As part of the performance, tidying a speaker was a way to honor it but also to transform it. If we think the body of sound, speakers are the most common elements of sound reproduction systems, sources that modulate and allows the emergency of sonic events. Common speakers are hidden or placed in a functional way to create sound representation. I wanted to elevate the speaker beyond this representational system. For me, the speaker was a body, a sonic body, a presence.

Within the other elements I created a sonic becoming; an aesthetic system, circuit, a human*-sound-space chimera. Body, ropes, tidying, speaker, signal, sound. The ropes and cables were the connectors, carriers of movement and electricity. multifaceted snakes. The speakers, the structure and my body were interfaces of pressure and heat. Together, a multiplicity, a pack. I wanted to relate to the speakers not only in an objectifying way but in a sexual way, a neutral and expansive desire. Mario Perniola will describe this neutral sexuality as sex-appeal of inorganic[3].

The sounds were distributed in order to enact a body, low frequencies at the bottom, heavy and dense frequencies; high frequencies spreading in the air, blurring through density. In the center, these polarities encounter themselves, merging in the listener (I expect). For the low frequencies I used a FM generator with three oscillators and a LFO that moved the mass of frequencies a bit. For the high frequencies I used a granular synthesizer that split a recording of my whispering voice saying “transform”, “merge” and “tied”. Thus, I added some textures with my voice saying Tied repeatedly. Some clicking sounds marked my rhythm with the tidying.

Getting in touch through Shibari, as an amateur, was quite exciting because, like I said, it allowed me to relate to the speaker in a particular way; I thought about it weightiness, it directionality, it textures and mass, it geometry. I designed a special tying for it. I discovered that my Shibari rope could not embrace the whole speaker; I have to discover where to distribute the weight through the ropes, where to put the pressure of the knots, try different kinds of knots. At the end, I used two single column tie knots and cross friction knots. This way of knotting is specific for the speaker; for a human body, for example, it is necessary to cross the rope several times in order to tie and block the part with a knot.

The relation of dominance is also a thing that was part of my aesthetics. In one point I, as a non-binary AFAB[4], was the top-dominant of the speaker. But on the other hand, I lost my position of power and relegate the aesthetic experience in the speaker as interface of sound. The lines between top/bottom were blurred. I was totally fascinated by the experience, so much that I merge with it, I wanted to be imperceptible It was not about me but the structure, the cable, the speaker. I was just an initiator, an agent for this experience. A multiple release, suspension; the speaker from it frontal and fixed position and myself as the center of attention. Finally, everything collides in an ephemeral installation. Becoming-installation.

[1] In phenomenology Epoché is the suspension of the judgement which allows us to relate to a world from a material approach, beyond the natural attitude. +

[2] The discussion about cultural appreciation/appropriation could be extensive. I would like to point that the culture of Shibari has expanded in very diverse ways, but usually in underground circuits. I got in touch with it in queer circuits in squats and collectives in both Valparaiso and Santiago de Chile. For me what is interesting is this subversion of power and the people who practice it.

[3] In his book, “The sex-appeal of the inorganic” he lays out that through the reduction of subject into sensitive things, he critics the idea of sexuality based on mere release of libidinal energy, satisfaction, but an economy of desire based on a neutral sexuality; an extended way to relate to the world in constant becoming.

[4] AFAB = Assigned female at birth.

Tied. Genesis Victoria. Sound Action and Installation. Sound Studies and Sonic Arts, room 323. UdK Berlin. 2020