‘In a Manner of Speaking’ – Participatory Voicing.

Come along and join us to sing! shout! call! mutter! whisper! whistle! hoot! cry! shriek! whoop! yell! yodel! bellow! holler! yowl! roar! scream! screech!

Join in this collaborative performance as part of RMIT Gallery’s My Monster: The Human animal hybrid exhibition (29 June – 18 August). The score by sound artist Catherine Clover is a speculative attempt at considering language across species in the urban context.

We will be thinking about urban birds (and urban animals in general) that live around us and how they may hear us just as we hear them.

All welcome. There are no expectations of skill or ability with this voicing. It is not about virtuosity or accuracy and nor is it about deceiving the birds. Rather it is about listening, improvisation and imagination.

Clover’s score was constructed using attentive listening in central Melbourne, with a focus on considering common urban birds as language users, birds such as little ravens, wattlebirds, pigeons, silver gulls, rainbow lorikeets, willie wagtails, swallows, blackbirds, common mynas, noisy miners, spotted turtledoves, Australian magpies, grey butcherbirds, pied currawongs, starlings, sparrows, magpie-larks.

Like a textual echo of the sounds commonly heard in this part of Melbourne, the score is focused on listening to the mix of bird and human voices in the city, as well as seeing and reading urban texts such as traffic signs, advertising, street names, business names, graffiti and so on.

Catherine’s multidisciplinary practice addresses communication through voice and language and the interplay between hearing/listening and seeing/reading. Using field recording, digital imaging and the spoken/written word she is exploring an expanded approach to language within species and across species through a framework of everyday experience. She teaches at Swinburne University (MA Writing) Melbourne, and holds a practice led PhD (Fine Art) through RMIT University.