Friday, 18 September 2015

Alphabetic Instability

Kaie Kellough, who creates complex verbal soundscapes with his voice, explains his fascination with the alphabet:
i like that the alphabet is a linear 26-step sequence that we have all so deeply internalized (digested?) that reciting it happens naturally, as effortlessly and thoughtlessly as a biological process. consequently, when that sequence is ruptured, or parts of it are rearranged, when suddenly the recitation halts as it advances and riffs backward, or sounds the letters out of their “natural” order but in a way that is much unlike spelling, and that doesn’t in fact spell anything, the effect on the person hearing that rupture/recitation can be very profound. it can reach to the core of a person’s relationship to language, and i think that that level of human engagement, through language, is one of the reasons why we produce poetry and is one of the aims of poetry. and this is further interesting to me because it tells me that any similarly profound engagement with language might require—or at least can be achieved by—destabilizing the familiar structures and mechanisms of language. creating a climate of systemic alphabetic instability…

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