A Row of Trees
The Journal of The Sonic Art Research Unit
Both issues of this volume grew from the experience of writing and delivering the ‘On Vibration’ lecture series from 2021 to 2022. The delivery was by far the more vital experience, bringing with it the gift of spending time with the participants and their practises in and out of the lectures (those who have contributed to this journal and not), holding the rhythmic rupture and continua of remarks and responses that continue to be sensed and considered.
A couple of the questions that have guided and followed, but not defined, the participants are as follows:
Where are the differences between vibration and the word ‘vibration’? How can we define something that in essence not only defines everything, but is defined by everything, that is part of the definition of everything?
Enfolding such ouroborotic percepts, a layer of intimation is felt whilst considering what we think about when we think about vibration, likewise, in obverse measure, what we don’t think about when we think about vibration.
Might any emergent patterns–what I consider to be fieldless fields, which in unto themselves do not pertain to a theory, but simply the intention, the image, of drifting among fields–be tones of manifestation? Whether referring to the ways in which ears (and the body) process frequencies, or walking and gleaning a field, said patterns are part of subject mattering, of the many professions of the amateur, the one who loves.
Vibration is at times, cultural, animal, botanic, alchemical, mythical, political, spiral, bacterial, contingent, cosmological, somehow elusive… Evidently it can become something of an impersonal term, alongside such others as polarity, causation, etc. If we seek elsewhere and otherwise, could we encounter more personal and ensouled attributes, realities of vibration?
In these first two issues of ‘a row of trees’ vibration is felt in participative multiplicity. Its spinning adumbral trajectories are present as ‘altitude’ in the work of Zoë Barry; perceived as if a prism, abstracting neither colour nor sound but burrowed edges, in what Rebecca Wilcox calls ‘compezishuns’; as the vapidity of boundaries in what Jacek Smolicki terms ‘arboreal sonorities’; with ‘tentacular signs’ threading through a conversation between Emma Somerville and Jodie Saunders; along an inherent materiality of engrams (memory traces) in Claire Nichols’ ‘projection trails’; as infinite records of resolution underlying the ‘periodical wavelets’ of Daniela Stubbs-Levi’s ‘manic oscillation’; along bubbles of threaded light excreting from the silent stomata of Lucía Hinojosa; permeating Caterina Gobbi’s fractal descent; patterning electric transcriptions in Kelly Krumrie’s ‘concentric macroscope’; through waves of negligible senescence enveloping the symbiotic architecture of Anna Jane Houghton’s ‘ascending rooms’; in David Lacey’s web-works of aural interconnectivity, slipping through their own stratified membranes into tree-life; superposition of diatomaceous hum in Sharon Phelan’s ‘soil matrix’; flowing through Diana Lola Posani’s lymphatic exploration of ‘joyful permeability’; the imaginal organs of and psycho-cellular expansions that resound from the life of Una Hamilton Helle’s ‘genius loci’; in Laura Harrington’s aeolian cloughs; as a grotto of cloud papers in Freya Dooley’s ‘temporary commons’; the pink earth of Rebecca Glover’s sculptures, criss-crossing like meteors; an unreality of botanic figmentation in Fern Thomas’s radial poesis; in the auspicious and fractured reverberation of Tom Soloveitzik’s ‘gravitational capsules’; the grounded sonic glyphs of Shirley Pegna’s ‘feet in the grass’…
None of this is to say however, that a word or term that can be thought of as a somewhat ‘personal’ artefact set aside from vibration does not respond to the self-same frequency as the word vibration, or even that one can be separated from the other.
The contributions that make up this first volume (from the 2021 cohort) lead me to feel, time and time again, that a study of vibration is both itinerant and established, a galvanic poetics, a practise of practises. Can we even reduce such a thing as vibration, or will it only ever emanate? Like subtle air bodies that nourish miasmic imagination. Perhaps a field is a vibration that listens…