Sound Voice Perform
Monograph with contributions by Brandon LaBelle, Martin
Spinelli, and Allen S. Weiss.
88 pages with Compact Disc
Critical Ear series, Vol. 2
(ISBN 0-9655570-7-3) Errant
Bodies Press/Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskilde with
Cover : South
Winds (2002) live at VOLT-AA, a series of events curated
by Eric Mattson. Photo by Eric Mattson.
above, front cover
below, text from back cover
"Christof Migone - Sound Voice Perform" documents the
performance, sound, and video works of the Canadian artist. Working
since the mid-80s, Migone weaves together a multitude of media,
from radio to telephones to digital objects, to form a stunning
and highly dynamic practice. Combining an acute sonic sensibility
with performative usages of the body, video, and the voice, his
work engages corporeal presence with a subtle invasion, unsettling
speech and gesture through investigative and theoretical poetics.
Including documentation of works and a full length CD of audio works
compiled from over the last 15 years including previously unreleased
material. With essays by Allen S. Weiss and Brandon LaBelle, an
interview with the artist by Martin Spinelli, "Christof Migone
- Sound Voice Perform" is the first monograph on this unique
"Christof Migone Sound Voice Perform" forms the
second volume of Critical Ear, a series of monographs on artists
working with sound through performative, spatial, and musical means.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction Brandon LaBelle & Achim Wollscheid 7
Word of Mouth: Christof Migone's little manias Brandon LaBelle
Fourteen and a Half Words to Bespeak the Migone Allen S.
Weiss 27 (see below)
Image Notes 49
under the analphabête series Christof Migone 55
Sound Holes: Interview with Christof Migone Martin Spinelli
CD Notes 73
01. Sexualized (1990) (0:10)
02. Evasion (2001) (4:04) link to project
03. SevenSixOne-FourEightFourOne (1994) (7:01)
04. Excavation (1993) (1:05)
05. « I » (2003) (8:41) link to project
06. Crackers (2000) (1:52)
07. Crackers (2000) (4:24)
08. Ni (ni vu, ni su, ni connu) (1999) (4:19) link to project
09. it would smack of bodysnatching (2000) (3:29)
10. l'étranglement (2000) (3:23)
11. ID (1996) (1:13)
12. Solar Plexus (1994) (9:02)
13. Quieting (2000) (0:23) link to project
14. Quieting (2000) (0:23)
15. Life is Long Xavier Leroi (2001) (1:22)
16. Nalpas (2002) (3:03) link to project
17. Tickers (2002) (2:22)
18. ... as an idiot who utters thoughts... (2003) (1:27)
19. je me te parle (1995) (8:52)
20-46. Learning to Speak Well (1991-2000) (5:07)
47. happy land (2003) (2:18)
48. Lone (1993) (0:19)
49. Sans titres (1993) (0:35)
50. Bore (1991) (0:38)
CD LINER NOTES
1 Sexualized 1990 / 00:10
Caller 1: Hi, I would describe myself as highly sexualized, perverted,
computerized, audiophonic, loud and obnoxious… basically very human.
Caller 2: I would describe myself as subterranean, obscure, black, poetic,
infrequent, defossilized, primary, unfulfilled, desiring, funny, frantic,
myopic, skinless, untouchable, paralogic, incompetent, silent, freaked
out, unfamiliar, dry, speckless, insincere, crazy, wanton, lustful, and
Excerpt from Describe Yourself (1990), live radio piece as part of the weekly two-hour radio art program Danger in Paradise (CKUT-FM, Montréal 1987-1994). An attempt to define the radiophonic body by asking listeners to describe themselves. First released on Hole in the Head (track 26) (Québec: Avatar/Ohm éditions, 1996).
2 Evasion 2001 / 04:04
Holding out your tongue as far as you can for as long as you can.
First performed live at the l’instant du presbyte enculé festival in Montréal, early 2001. Live components of this recording come from this first performance. First released on the CD accompanying the book Writing Aloud: The Sonics of Language, edited by Brandon LaBelle and Christof Migone (Los Angeles: Errant Bodies Press, 2001).
3 SevenSixOne-FourEightFourOne 1994 / 07:01
¿Quién es usted?… Hola?… How did you get my number?… Where are
you calling me from?… Ma, que parle per favore?… Unlocated number…
moshi moshi, domo… I don’t know why the hell you’re calling
for… ok, anything I can help you with?… I’m not interested in talking to
you right now, thank you… you’re calling for who?… si, pero… ¿quién es
usted?… well excuse me sir… hable… alo… Hallo… ¿que es el
número?… Canada is not United States of America… le numéro n’existe
pas… Wo wollen Sie denn hin? Nach… wuenschen? Wen wollen Sie?…
I know you’re not making sense… I don’t know what you want, I better
hang up… so, you can have this phone number over there… this phone
number over here is in the United States of America, it’s not in
Canada… Kein Anschluss unter dieser Nummer… no existe… don’t call
this number anymore!… who’s calling… Sir, right now I’m entretaining
people, is that the number you want to talk to?… Wer, wer, wer ist da?…
deme su nombre…what number you want, what, what did you want that
number for?… Ja wuenschen?… you what?… okyakusama ga okakeni
natta bangou ha genzai tsukawarete orimasen… No further information
is available about…
For this piece I called everybody in the world with my telephone number (but different area/country codes). Sometimes the number was not activated, sometimes the person answering and I had no language in common, sometimes they became upset and hung up once I told them the reason for my call.
The other sounds come from the recreation of a 1992 radio piece entitled Running away with me: conversations with the neither here nor there. Instrumentation: one voice, two legs, many breaths, some distance. The piece consists of having a conversation with myself where, between each sentence, I have to run between two different rooms. A mic and recorder are setup in each room. In this piece the conversation is edited out. First released on compilation Rappel, curated by Christof Migone (Québec: Avatar/Ohm éditions, 1996). Rappel was a project organized by Avatar, the pieces were first exhibited on an answering machine. Other participating artists: Algojo) (Algojo, Pierre-Andre Arcand, Doyon/Demers, Chantal Dumas, Kathy Kennedy, Daniel Leduc, Jean Routhier, Sylvia Wang and Gregory Whitehead. Edited 2004.
4 Excavation 1993 / 01:05
First released on Hole in the Head (track 27: Excavation 3) (Québec: Avatar/Ohm éditions, 1996). Edited 2004.
5 « I » 2003 / 08:41
Audio piece composed entirely of sounds produced by the eyes of
Aleksandr P. Thibaudeau as manipulated by himself. The sounds from
this recording session were then manipulated by myself. First released on compilation noli me legere… to Maurice Blanchot (Lisbon: sirr-ecords, 2004). The piece premiered June 3 & 4, 2003 at D!sturbances in Copenhagen, Denmark — a pitch black concert curated by Hans Christian Gimbel and Mylène Lauzon. Video stills from the recording session with Aleksandr P. Thibaudeau.
6 Crackers 2000 / 01:52
… ahhhh… ok and now in order to do my elbows I will have to make a
quick motion like this, so I’ll make sure I don’t bust into the mic but I
usually have to be standing to do it… so you keep it in one place… that’s
as close I can come there… now the jaw which is usually on this side…
it’s not one that a lot of people like to hear… now… neck, if you can put
the mic back in here, tell me when you’re ready… hold on, ok… I was
hoping for a better one than that… not much no… toes, of course…
alright so you’re going to have to be right on the floor for this… no, just
a second, I can do it here… ok, the other one, mine as well exhaust all
of the areas and then get to my back… ok… now when I do my back I
have to swing it as well… so stay in one place… the best sounds usually
come out of about right there…
Do you crack your fingers? your neck? your back? your knees? your
elbows? your ankles? your hips? your jaws? your toes? your…? A joint is
the locale where bones articulate a tension. Crackers are compulsive
about the release of that tension. A crack is incontinent. A cracker too.
As the sound of the cracks echo, some wince, others feel relief. A crack
is a body nonsequitur, a bone edit, a broken break.
7 Crackers 2000 / 04:24
Crackers began in 1997 as residency project for Gallery 101 in Ottawa. Participants were solicited through the radio, classified ads in the weekly paper, and via the Gallery’s membership. The recording sessions consisted of an interview succeeded by a cracking session. Participants: Germaine Koh, Justine Akman, Marguerite Dehler, Tony Daye, Sarah Dobbin, Vera Greenwood, Louise Levergneux, Michael Sutton. First released on Crackers (track 4) (Chicago: Locust Music, 2001). Remastered 2004. First released on Crackers (excerpt from track 1) (Chicago: Locust Music, 2001). Remastered 2004.
8 Ni (ni vu, ni su, ni connu) 1999 / 04:19
This project paired an audio artist with a photographer. Taking the title
of the project literally, the sound of images, I put digitized versions of
Jack Burman’s photographs, sight unseen, into a sound program and
played them. The converted files became the source for this piece.
First released on the compilation Le son des images, curated by Chantal Dumas (Québec: Galerie Vu, 1999). Edited 2004.
9 it would smack of bodysnatching 2000 / 03:29
Instrumentation: microphones. Site: mouths.
First released on undo’s (Christof Migone and Alexandre St-Onge) CD, un sperme qui meurt de froid en agitant faiblement sa petite queue dans les draps d’un gamin (Montréal: squint fucker press, 2000). Title of the CD and all the track titles are taken from one page in Samuel Beckett’s The Unnamable.
10 l’étranglement 2000 / 03:23
Alexandre and I strangled each other softly with contact mics placed on
each other’s throats while Eric observed the strangulation and measured
his heartbeat and blood flow with an amplified medical device. The
throats swallowed, the strangling arms shook and sweated. Duration of
original performance: 23 minutes. Performance by undo with Eric Letourneau at Casa Del Popolo, Montréal, July 29 2000. Previously unreleased. Recorded live, mixed in 2004.
11 ID 1991 / 01:13
hey wait, how do you swallow your tongue?
Using material from phone-ins on the program Danger in Paradise (1987-1994) on CKUT-FM in Montréal. First released on Hole in the Head (track 2: Identification) (Québec: Avatar/Ohm éditions,
1996). Edited and remixed 2004.
12 Solar Plexus 1994 / 09:02
Solar Plexus is divided into boils, fires, fountains, suffocations, swallows,
descents, and pain directives. The geography — Montréal, Geneva, Bay
of Fundy, the Laurentians, and Innsbruck. Solar Plexus consists of
microphone intrusions, bad singing, sporadic moaning, and half-hearted
humming. Concentrating on the minute, the hereto insignificant, those
tiny moments. Produced at PRIM Studios in Montréal, 1993-1994.
First released on compilation Radius #3, curated by Dan Lander (Albuquerque: Nonsequitur Foundation, 1996). Edited and remixed 2003.
13 Quieting 2000 / 00:23
First released on Quieting (track 17) (Montréal: Alien8 Recordings, 2000).
14 Quieting 2000 / 00:23
In 1996 I recorded the cannon that is fired every day at noon from the
Citadel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, all pieces on the CD are based on that
recording or inspired by the shock of the shot. In my preparations for this
project, I made several recordings from different positions in the city, but
I was stuck on one in particular. In between the recording in 1996 and working on the CD in the Summer of 2000, I had periodically tried to use it, but I could never find the right form, everytime it was placed with or alongside something else, it would annihilate itself along with everything surrounding it. I finally realized that it should stand on its own. And so in thinking of how one could create that possibility in the listening experience, I just put that brief recording in the middle of the CD, preceded and followed by nothing, silence (the preceding track being an example), so as to further amplify the sound of the shot. And that point I felt I had found the right form, the CD got a bit more complex, but that is the basic premise. First released on Quieting (track 18) (Montréal: Alien8 Recordings, 2000).
15 Life is Long Xavier Leroi 2001 / 01:22
To be listened to while lying on your back, weight distributed onto your
shoulders with your hips in the air, legs over your head and knees resting
on the floor on either side of your ears, eyes gazing at your crotch.
(Suggested pose by Claude Wampler).
The piece is an excerpt from the soundtrack of Present Absence, a performance by Claude Wampler which premiered 21-25 May 2001 at the kaaistudios during the Kunsten Festival, Brussels, Belgium. An earlier version of this fartspeaker piece was first performed by myself for La Quinzaine de la Voix at Tangente, Montréal during O, a collaborative piece with Maryse Poulin and Bruce Gottlieb. In both instances the piece was diffused by holding a speaker in front of the ass, and having the speaker face the audience, hence the fartspeaker. It was titled Life is
Long Xavier Leroi by Claude Wampler on the occasion of its release on the Syntax Error CD. First released on the Syntax Error CD for the Failure Issue of Cabinet magazine (Brooklyn: Immaterial Inc., 2002). Edited 2004.
16 Nalpas 2002 / 03:03
South Winds presents the results of a recording session I undertook with
Le Petomane (Joseph Pujol 1857-1945). Le Petomane performed his fart
fantasia at the Moulin Rouge in Paris where, to much acclaim, he would
imitate musical instruments and with his ’second mouth’ hum recognizable
tunes. For South Winds, Le Petomane and I sought to explore these
somatic winds as a response to Artaud’s ontological formulation: “the
depth of my being is the volume of my body.” Both Artaud and Pujol were
brought up in Marseilles, city in the path of the infamous Mistral, a wind
which “has the ill-natured habit of scattering roof tiles about, knocking down chimneys, blowing small children into canals, tumbling walls onto the unsuspecting natives.” South Winds has the same impetuous effect, it confirms that the body is a noisy place, that the body emits and transmits, and it cannot contain itself. South Winds is an essay on the flatulent and the incontinent. A live mix of this CD was performed (using in part the fartspeaker mentioned in track 15) for Volt-AA (6), Fall 2002 in Montréal. First released on South Winds (Track 5: excerpt) (Montréal: Oral, 2003).
17 Tickers 2002 / 02:22
A city’s identity contains an inherent tension between order and chaos.
From the history of its physical expansion to its development of community
standards and its conflictual relation to critical cultures (graffiti,
street protests, performance art, etc.), the city is an organism which
defies planning and prediction. The individual contains similar internal
struggles. Both navigate nervously between the controllable and the
uncontrollable. Tickers is part of an ongoing project consisting of portraits
of cities through the bodies of its inhabitants. With Crackers
(Ottawa, 1997) participants were recorded cracking their joints. With
Poker (Montréal, 2001) the sonic properties of taciturn faces were
explored. Tickers (Winnipeg, 2002) investigates the rhythmic possibilities
of facial tics. These projects perform attempts (however tenuous) to
constitute somatic communities; they result in sound and video portraits
which oscillate between awkward intimacy and playful complicity. In
Tickers participants were paired off and placed face to face, one person
adopted a facial tic and the other had to come up with a aural translation
of the tic. A participatory project for Send & Receive, Winnipeg,
2002. Participants: Brian Ferguson, Nicole Shimonek, Erica Lincoln,
Patrick Harrop, Terri Fuglem, Jake Moore, Steve Bates, Mike Germain.
Previously unreleased. Mix of the untreated sound files.
18 … as an idiot who utters thoughts with the grandiose tone
of a self-appointed genius 2003 / 01:27
First released on compilation …as…, curated by Benjamin Green (London, England: Resonance FM, 2003). Edited and remixed 2004.
19 je me te parle 1995 / 08:52
A voice speaks through another’s voice. of nothing in particular, everything
and nothing. It is unscripted. The voice speaks to the headphones
of the other voice. The public only hears the second voice. The second
voice is instructed to say and repeat only what the first voice says, but of
course that doesn’t always quite work, the ventriloquism is not perfect.
The second voice reacts to what it hears at the same time as it repeats
it. Sometimes it loses track of the words, sometimes it starts laughing,
sometimes it doesn’t understand. First released on compilation Radio Folie Culture, curated by Jocelyn Robert (Québec: Avatar/Ohm éditions, 1996). Voice: Dorothée Morat.
20-46 Learning to Speak Well1991 / 5:07
20 Learning to – No.1 Neutral Voice / 00:07
22 Learning to – No.3 Falsetto / 00:10
24 Learning to – No.4 Creaky Voice / 00:08
26 Learning to – No.5 Whisper / 00:08
28 Learning to – No.6 Whispery Creak / 00:11
30 Learning to – No.7 Whispery Voice / 00:09
32 Learning to – No.8 Whispery Falsetto / 00:09
34 Learning to – No.10 Creaky Falsetto / 00:17
36 Learning to – No.11 Whispery Creaky Voice / 00:11
38 Learning to – No.12 Whispery Creaky Falsetto / 00:13
40 Learning to – No.13 Breathy Voice / 00:09
42 Learning to – No.14 Harsh Whispery Voice / 00:09
44 Learning to – No.15 Tense Voice / 00:07
46 Learning to – No.16 Lax Voice / 00:08
… No.9676 Wounded Raised Larynx Lax Vitriolic Falsetto
… and finally No.126,789 Creaky, Breathy, Radiated, Harsh, Tense,
Electrocuted, Fondled, Neutral, Contorted, Raised Larynx, Throated,
Vexed, Whispery, Transpired, Articulated and Vehiculated, Incontinent,
Vagabonded, Phantomized and Phased, Jaundiced, Relayed, Post-determined
and Post-digital, Deregulated, Mellifluent, Erased, Manipulated,
Fast forwarded, Battery operated, Synoptic and Phatic and Tonsilitic,
Glottal and Colossal, Salivaphile and Expectorant, Lecherous, Licentious,
Projected, Reverberated, Remote controlled, Vivisected, Transistorized,
Modulated, Masticated, Animated, Assiduous, Analphabête Voice.
The Learning to Speak Well series was part of Horror Radia Vacui: phatic drones and microphobia techniques, the second annual report from the Center for Radio-telecommunication Contortions (CRTC). This performance text travels from the drone produced by the pearl divers of the Persian Gulf to the hems and haws of the radiophonic body. From the horror of the void to the deadness of the air. The performance gropes at radio’s invisible articulations and at the viscosity of its language. The CRTC was a phantom mirror organization to the actual governmental regulatory body, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Live recording from a performance during the Radio Possibilities festival, March 13-14, 1991 at the Forest City Gallery and simultaneously live on-air at CHRW-FM in London, Ontario. Previously unreleased. This piece also includes in-betweens originating from the following three sources:
The Death of Analogies / 1996
21 Knobby Tongues / 00:11
23 Wrapped Up / 00:13
25 Mal aux Dents (excerpt) / 00:05
27 Visit to Whistler / 00:26
31 Survey of Comfort / 00:14
33 Architecture Hum 2 / 00:07
41 Slap Me / 00:24
43 Architecture Hum 3 / 00:07
The Death of Analogies is a piece for short attention spans. On the radio, the ninety-six sections of The Death of Analogies are analogous to those in-betweens, those intersections or incisions between longer pieces (usually music) and the host talking. Normally, these intrusions consist of ads, station identifications, promotional announcements, and “stingers”; all are instrumental in shaping a radio station’s “sound”. These are the bursts and blips of an imaginary radio station. First released on The Death of Analogies (Austin, Texas: ND, 1996).
Joints for Novarina / 2000
29 Nova a / 00:08
35 Nova b / 00:11
37 Nova c / 00:13
39 Nova d / 00:09
These are part of the in-betweens for the play Theater of the Ears, a play for recorded voice and electronic marionette by Allen S. Weiss based on the writings of Valère Novarina. These audio miniatures, operate as sonic joints, as compact fragments, as ear-betweens. They are all of Novarina’s characters passing through, emitting a cry, a whimper, a silence and then scurrying past. Previously unreleased.
Metal God / 1992-2000
45 Toupille 00:23
Excerpt from Metal God, a CD-ROM based on a text by Beth Greenspan. Metal God was originally a performance created by Tammy Forsythe and Christof Migone and presented at Espace Tangente in Montréal in 1992. The CD-ROM was completed in 2000. First released on Metal God (Montréal: self-published, 2000).
47 happy land 2003 / 02:18
First released on Escape Songs, CD with Veda Hille (Montréal: squint fucker press, 2004).
48 Lone 1993 / 00:19
Well, why did they hang up? I have no one to talk to…
Ay aya ay, it’s lonely out here in the middle of nowhere…
Oh! We’ve got a friend…
Hello, I heard you were all alone, so I thought I should call
and say something
I was all alone in radio land, it should never happen
Well actually you are never really all alone in radio land, ya know
I felt all alone, no one was here to save me
Gridpubliclock utilizes a radio station, an audience and telephones as instruments. The host welcomes the audience from the studio and then leaves. The host calls from every public phone he comes across and asks the audience to tell him where to go next or invites them to carry out the same process of ambulation and calling in. A silent operator at the radio station fields the calls coming in and puts them on the air without screening them beforehand. The host is no longer the central voice ’managing’ the calls. A couple of versions of Gridpubliclock were performed on CKUT-FM (Montréal) in 1993 before it acquired this name. It was performed as Gridpubliclock (with Ed Baxter as participant) in 1998 for Resonance FM in London, England. First released on Hole in the Head (track 26: Danger 2) (Québec: Avatar/Ohm éditions, 1996). Edited 2004.
49 Sans titres 1993 / 00:35
First released as five different miniatures (Sa, ns, ti, tr, es) on compilation Ding Dong Deluxe CD, curated by Jocelyn Robert (Québec: Avatar/Ohm éditions, 1994). Edited and remixed 2004.<
50 Bore 1993 / 00:19
There’s lots to say that hasn’t already been said
That’s true. It’s becoming kind of empty
Strange. It feels like I’ve had this conversation before
It’s just you and me
Are you still you?
No. I think I’ve changed
Grown within the past minutes have you?
No. I haven’t progressed or regressed, just changed
You bore me
Sometimes I bore myself too. Goodnight.
Half of a telephone conversation live on Danger in Paradise (Montréal: CKUT-FM 1987 - 1994). First released on Hole in the Head (Track 29: Confession You, Call 2) (Québec: Avatar/Ohm
Fourteen and a Half Words to Bespeak the Migone
by Allen S. Weiss
The point at which disrupted and degenerated inner
voices appose heterogeneous and heterodox outer
There where one didn’t know the “I” could be situated.
Audiophony as auscultation, simultaneously the
contact with surfaces and the sounding of
depths – skull partitas, glottal toccatas, ear arias,
bone requiems, intestinal fugues, heart sonatas,
nerve rhapsodies, blood symphonies.
The ultimate paradigm of sound art, determined
by sound production as a dialogical activity, a
manifestation of social relations, even when it arises
from the most seemingly irrevocable solipsism.
The challenge of all metrical and rhythmic
restrictions, of temporality itself.
Nostalgia for the last moment before the invention of
sound-recording technologies, before the development
of modern phonetics, before the epoch when sound
The ethical goal of experimental sound, a mode of
resistance to globalized, standardized communication.
The beauty and ugliness of crooning.
Sound recording permits both hearing the voices of
the dead and manipulating the voices of the living
beyond their physical limits, exponentially increasing
the limits of teratology.
The current synonym for sound, with music as its
most organized form.
Perhaps the only private language, Wittgenstein’s
The outcome of citation, that unavoidable and ludic
condition of speech.
The result of recording, as voice is separated from
body, as the overtones of spoken words resonate
between the vibratory pitch of the body and the
echoes of the speech returned by the world, where
the voice arrives from without, minus its usual
corporeal thickness, so that it is restored as a
Equivalent to Valéry’s definition of poetry, that
prolonged hesitation between sound and sense.
The relays between anatomy, cuisine and language
establish a circuit between immanence and