Hearing Plurality in Scripture: Using Sound Art Practice to draw out pluralities implicit in the ritual public reading of Christian Scripture
University of the Arts, London
Supervisor: Dr. Salomé Voegelin
Institutional email: email@example.com
‘The reading of the Word,’ refers to the ritual of reading aloud Christian scripture during public worship. A member of the community reads aloud a portion of scripture. Though what is sounded and heard is this single voice, there are many implicit voices present, both within the text and the ritual’s context. In our listening, the voices of minorities and the excluded, such as women and foreigners, are often passed over; similarly, the voices of editors, compilers and interpreters of the text are seldom acknowledged.
Hearing these voices can provide a richer experience of listening beyond an assumed message, providing new insights and understandings into the text and ritual. This project aims to draw out these voices through sound art practice, specifically voice based sound art, as sound art provides examples and precedents in listening for the plural, the hidden, the implicit and the silenced.
Methodologically, this will be achieved through ‘Bible Noise’, a group whose practice is based on existing improvisatory groups, such as Eddie Prévost’s London Workshop. With scripture texts as the initial material, I will bring the practices of group improvisation and polyphony, traditionally associated with music, to the reading aloud and hearing of the bible texts. The aim is to ‘unlock’ voices, bringing out implicit pluralities, while disrupting the single authoritative voice that conventionally builds its main tone. Don Ihde’s presentation of ‘Horizon’ in Listening and Voice (2007), drawing upon auditory phenomenology and echoing hermeneutical approaches represents a theoretical basis for this research. The project will contribute towards a religious and a sound practice, by bringing together theory and practice in a reciprocal exploration of an ancient ritual through contemporary sound art.