homeabout, email, ︎: 🍔️ 💎️ 🌵️.


How is a business phone call like a folk song or jazz standard? How much are non-words, and part-words, involved in how we communicate? Is it possible to speak into the void; to use our voices to communicate nothing at all?

In Thing-Like, I continued to focus on short-form audio with a suite of 'exercises' – basically analogous to piano études, or studies, for edited sound works. Taking Walter Ong1's preoccupations with the 'immersive' and vital nature of oral culture as a point of departure, these pieces tease and critique the heavy burden of speech and its value: as social currency, blunt instrument, monetary resource and point of connection.

This collection of short works is composed for speakers – inviting, intrusive, implicating the passer-by; and headphones – individual, interior. Traditional interviews, aimless conversations, paid celebrity dedications, forgotten sing-alongs, free improvisations, custom voice synthesis and chance murmurs become material for a process that’s both informal and entirely formal. Speakers’ words are manipulated (‘say that again, but opposite’); license agreements are breached.

While Ong argues that thought and expression have been fundamentally reconfigured by the technology of writing; Thing-Like suggests ways in which voice and speech have been reconfigured by the technology of money and how it structures time.


Seven minutes. Four-channel audio installation for loudspeakers and open-backed headphones. Adapted to stereo for podcast.

Commissioned by Constellations︎ as part of Resonant Bodies︎; exhibited at Toronto Media Arts Centre (11–17 August 2019) and online (25 October 2019–2 December 2019).

Find out more about Resonant Bodies, read the curatorial statement and listen to the other works at the Constellations website︎.

Thing-Like includes recordings made with Carolyn Connors, Ahmed Yussuf and Montell Jordan.

It draws on a broad array of public and pseudo-public repositories of the human voice: speech synthesis and phonetic research corpora; public radio and government archives; sample libraries, tutorials and crowdsourced audiobooks; and phonecalls and interviews recorded with the knowledge and consent of the people involved.

Special thanks to Carolyn for the patience, to Mitchell Akiyama for technical support, and Michelle Macklem, Jess Shane and Aliya Pabani for installing and commissioning this work.

1 Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy