Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.
Listening is the most dangerous thing of all, listening means knowing, finding out about something and knowing what’s going on, our ears don’t have lids that can instinctively close against the words uttered, they can’t hide from what they sense they’re about to hear, it’s always too late.
Public Domain Image via Pixabay
Public Domain Image via Pixabay
Having eyes, but not seeing beauty; having ears, but not hearing music; having minds, but not perceiving truth; having hearts that are never moved and therefore never set on fire. These are the things to fear, said the headmaster.
―Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window
Your dreaming self seeks to tell you something your waking ears will not hear.
―Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Chosen
A man has no ears for that which he cannot access through experience. To take an extreme case, suppose a book contains only incidents which lie outside the range of general or even rare experience—suppose it to be the first language to express a whole series of experiences. In this case nothing it contains will really be heard at all and thanks to an acoustic delusion people will believe that where nothing is heard there is nothing to hear.
—Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is
Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.
―Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
I limited myself to one shout a day. But I didn’t like the sound of my voice. It sounded panicked, it sounded scared. And I knew from experience you can’t hear more than 50 yards either way down a canyon.
The drive to understand the coordination between the mind and body that produces language is a powerful source of innovation. The following videos represent attempts to replicate the human voice by means of a physical apparatus or robot rather than by digital sampling and recording techniques alone. This requires and stimulates a greater understanding of both how the human voice is produced and how it is heard.
Wien Modern was one of ten organizations asked to make an artistic contribution to the European Environmental Criminal Court Forum 2009 event in the Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy. Their project: to perform the text of a proclamation released earlier by the EECC as a musical composition, without setting it in a traditional sense. To that end, Austrian composer Peter Ablinger transferred the frequency spectrum of elementary school student Miro Markus’ voice to his computerized piano. Breaking down the voice into snatches of frequency, much as a computer might break down an image into pixels, Ablinger was able to reconstruct Markus’ recitation into pitch and rhythm on the keyboard. The result is astonishing, although having subtitles really helps clarify the text. The relationship of our speaking voice to pitch and rhythm is quite complex and the “music” of a voice is unique and integral to how that voice is understood.
Video via TheMcphearson on YouTube.
Scientists at Kagawa University in Takamatsu, Japan are trying to achieve a better understanding of how the mind and body work together to produce speech. The talking robot below consists of a silicone mouth, vocal cords and tongue; a plaster nasal chamber for increased resonance; an air pump that acts as lungs and a rudimentary computerized brain which has the capacity to associate movement with sound and learn through auditory feedback. What the human mind and body does subconsciously can only be reproduced with a great deal of trial and error, but the robot can learn and execute an extremely simple song, make vowel sounds, and produce some words. Next step? This mouth is currently being fitted with teeth so that it can produce fricative consonants. Look out, world!
Video via Diginfonews on YouTube.
I give bird songs to those who dwell in cities and have never heard them, make rhythms for those who know only military marches or jazz, and paint colors for those who see none.