A Row of Trees
The Journal of The Sonic Art Research Unit
a row of trees attempts to loosen the bounds between disciplines, and is committed to publishing new works across a variety of fields, backgrounds and mediums.
Sarah Hughes, one of the contributors to this volume, quotes from the writer John Berger in her essay, ‘The Continuum of the Field’, wherein Berger writes: “The field that you are standing before appears to have the same proportions as your own life”. Whilst thinking on what I could write about for this editorial, I realised that the spectral life of the heart’s bioelectromagnetic fields might add a layer to Berger’s observation. But a little more on this later.
Welcome to volume 2 of the sonic art research unit journal, a row of trees, edited by myself and Kelly Krumrie. This volume is primarily concerned with such things as tailings, dross, slough, waste… and without wishing to sound too chippy, I can’t help but think of something Einstein once said, that knowledge is something you have ‘left over’ when you have forgotten everything you have learned in school. This mysterious glob, that which is ‘left over’, appears in the one hand as a product of forgetting (liquefaction of time), and in the other as an oscillating kernel of promise and potential. Hands hold each other’s trauma.
If anything, this editorial is a skein, a garbled note, I’ve really no wish to comment upon the works that make up this volume, as they very much speak for themselves. I sent an informal invitation to Marlo De Lara, Sarah Hughes, Laura Duval, Clara de Asís, Joseph Clayton Mills, Loren Chasse, Matt Parker, Roosmarijn Pallandt, Chloe Zimmerman and Emily Leon, asking them to hold in mind such things as by-product, waste, ferment, epiphenomena and emanation, and I am ever compelled as to the collective depths of individual responses.
Thinking a little on what spurred said invitation however, it seems there can often exist clades of tremulous indistinction between products of thought and ways of thinking, a threadbare distance wrapped around itself as it tries avoid confusion amidst the nuances scattered among the products of a way of thinking, and the many ways we come to a way of thinking. This cycles us back to the heart’s bioelectromagnetic fields.
The energy of the heart (of course such promulgation is by no means specific to those creatures that possess a ‘recognisable’ heart) radiates from our bodies (detectable at any point on or in the body, its pulses often modulated by different emotional states) in a way that is often referred to as cardio electromagnetic communication. When I picture this I am also amidst, inseparable, experiencing it as it changes due to all of the above and more. We are edged, outlined, defined primarily in a sensorial capacity (I’ve no wish to invalidate or sideline this form of reality, wherein matter is considered frozen light), and such dividing lines seem to be part of what gives cause to acting as if parts of ourselves (the heart’s fields, the almost alchemical stages of brain waves, the webbed resonant frequencies of organs and hormones, the noise of cells and the hiss of connective tissue, electrons, the bioluminescence our bodies emit, the biochemical hum, the copious amounts of electricity in the crystalline life of fascia, imagination, even thought, every ‘one’ – or should I say instance – of which is surely a frequency or combination thereof) are by-products, epiphenomena, predicated in certain ways on defining or absent cause… even consciousness often can’t escape such delineation, as vast as it is, too vast to be squeezed into the narrow confines of any demarcated thing or location.
I think that Berger’s proposition, drawn to our attention by Hughes, can enfold with the lingering touch of the heart’s biofields as they branch both in and out of the body, a fortuna of mysterious energies flowing faster than blood – I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that if the human ear were any more sensitive, its cochlear spiral any longer, it would amplify the vibrations of its own molecules – and the many contiguous radial and spiral forms, as mentioned above, in what psychotherapist Stan Grof has called a Coex system, which I picture as a moirè (Louise Bourgeois’s textile drawings often come to mind).
Grof felt that the Coex system, short for condensed experience, emanates from our bodies as an organising principle of the psyche, an oft subliminal and specific constellation of entwined memories and fantasies, and this… I feel, enables us to briefly consider the edges of the human body as phasing interference patterns …one thing and another thing and another thing… spirally incorporating, at the very least, body-mind-environment-cosmos, and to think on the presence of by-products as entities in unto themselves.