Hearing Capitalism: Taxidermy of the Wallah’s Song

Theadora Walsh, Dharamshala/India — Okt 21, 2016

Akademie Schloss Solitude - Hearing Capitalism: Taxidermy of the Wallah’s Song

Portfolio: walsh-schloss-portfolio

As a writer and a video artist, I am interested in new mechanisms for conveying narrative. My work is about bringing text and evocations into the digital moment we exist in. My videos try to think about the capacity for story construction with sound and visual affect as tools which work with text. I am excited about the future capacities for expression new technologies offer. For this residency I want to use the website as a site of encounter. I am interested in making a piece which attempts to subtitle and visualize the calls of street vendors.
I spent the summer in India, travelling often by train. I like to think of the view from a train like a series of sentences. The frame is there, tunnels carve moments of rest, telephone wires act like punctuation. Sounds come through the windows at station stops. The trains screech to interrupt the rhythm of movement, you can hear goodbyes and greetings, and the wallahs selling teas and snacks. Almost like an incantation, people sing rounds which name the goods they carry.
I will explore the incantations as a form of speech that is also a sound and harmonic frequency. Vendors in India repeat the name of the thing they are selling quickly and rhythmically. This blurs the word, elongating and obscuring it. At the same time, the words get stuck in your head. I am interested in mirroring this form by creating text that is ambiguous but communicates an idea through the relationship between words.
I want to use the website to plant audio in different parts of the page. These pinned clips will play when you interact with text and images floating around the website. I will write about my experience and embed the sound on the physical space of that text. This lets one play with overstimulation. A sort of overwhelming amount of information about physical surrounding being defined by capital can be archived online. I like the idea of cacophony and disharmony coming together to interrupt the “flow” and “cleanliness” of websites designed by corporate firms.

I am a video artist and writer who works on subtitling the subjective experience of public space. My videos have been featured as online installations at InPatient Press and Metis magazine. I have also shown my work at Rise Above Gallery in Oakland and the Cornell Bibliowicz gallery. My writing has been published in Afterimage, a magazine of technology and art, and Kaleidoscope, a Hungarian feminist press. I graduated with dual degrees in political theory and comparative literature from Cornell University. I currently live in Dharamshala, India where I am working at a film festival.

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