Deakin University

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Peripheral hearing: ‘collaborative audio literature’ and the uncanny

journal contribution
posted on 2019-10-01, 00:00 authored by David MccooeyDavid Mccooey
This (self-exegetical) essay concerns ‘collaborative audio literature’, a form of asynchronous collaborative practice that brings together music, sound design, and literary texts. As a form of literary audio ‘content’, such a genre is peripheral to the mainstream audio literary genres of audio books and podcasts. Collaborative audio literature exists at the periphery of performance, literature, sound design, and music, as an experimental, interdisciplinary form. After a discussion of the relationship between music and sounded poetry, this essay discusses ‘Three Sisters’ (from my album The Double, 2017), an audio work based in part on Maria Takolander’s short story of that name (2013). In ‘Three Sisters’, I undertake an innovative form of adaptation that employs sampling and text-to-speech synthesis to place the newly produced text in a complex sonic field of music and sound design. The ‘un-performability’ of this piece (and others from The Double) is central to the work’s aesthetic, in which literature and music occupy virtual, peripheral spaces. The use of voices (synthetic and real) at the threshold of hearing also produces an aesthetic of ambiguity with regard to the usual predominance of words. ‘Three Sisters’, then, works with ambiguous, threshold spaces that test the limits of perception, authorship, genre, and the categories of literature and music themselves. The essay analyses my creative practice via the trope of the periphery-as-uncanny, a virtual space that evokes the disquieting interplay between the familiar and the unfamiliar.



TEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses




Gold Coast, Qld.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal


Special Issue 57


School of Arts, Griffith University