INSTRUCTIONS FOR HAUNTING YOUR OWN HOUSE
From our guest curator, Aliya Pabani:
“There’s a lot to feel haunted by this year. So get acquainted with the creaks and murmurs in the room, make peace with your ghosts, and face the things that haunt you most.
This is a step-by-step-guide to haunting your own house."
(New steps will be added each day.)
Step 1: Get to know your source material.
You’re a fleshless, immaterial being. You can only express yourself through the objects in your house: an air conditioning unit, a cupboard full of cans, that one vent that rattles for some reason.
So, you better get familiar.
Some invite a novel interaction with a common household object, while others focus on tending to the naturally-occurring sounds of your surroundings.
Below are two.
You can find more scores and explanatory text at www.indoorjogging.com.
Computer (A Warm-Up)
The computer you are viewing this on
Please turn the sound on and volume up. Play video in fullscreen.
1 cardboard box
Until you feel tired.
This score can be experienced in three different ways:
Using your imagination
Listening to an interpretation
Performing it yourself or with others
If there’s anything that haunting spirits have in common, from the dense, goober-y kind to the ethereal, shapeshifting sort, it’s that they’ve got baggage.
Spend some time today dredging up your past for insights on your present.
Here’s Wendy Zuckerman, host of the Science Vs podcast, revisiting a special episode from October 2019, where they created a fictionalized account of what New York would be like in a pandemic.
Step 2: Wallow around in the past.
It’s time to acknowledge that words are played out. Don’t be caught whispering “die” through the chimney flue like an amateur, let all the little non-verbal bits that you’ve been cutting out of your tape become the palette for your haunting.
Kamikaze Jones conjures a “Queer Necropolis” through explorations in extended vocal technique, Yelp reviews of sex toys, and the hold music of gay phone sex hotlines in his work Necropolis 2: Cruise Control, which originally aired on the excellent Constellations podcast (h/t to Jess Shane for suggesting the piece).
This nightfall, transform your space into a literal echo chamber for the “more infernal channels of the collective queer subconscious.”
Here are some listening notes from the artist:
“Listen pre-coitus, post-orgasm, or during a lunar sex magick ritual for maximum effect.”
Step 3: Grunt, Sigh, Trill, and Whine
Listen to the “Inner Geographies” episode of Constellations (my favourite episode of the season), which includes Necropolis 3: Planet of the Gapes, and the hypnotic A Sound Poem, by Axel Kacoutié.
Here’s Kamikaze Jones on the use of extended vocal technique:
“Being able to figure out different ways to transform my voice has always been very therapeutic and cathartic for me. Out of any discernible spiritual practice that I have, vocalizing is something that I connect mostly, I guess, to a sense of spirituality. So being able to stretch my voice into ways that are pre-linguistic or beyond conventional means and to actively work to hold space for that transformation has always been really important for me…it's kind of like a form of active meditation, because I've never had good luck with traditional meditation. I guess because I can't clear my head—there's always some sonic detritus scurrying around.”
Try it yourself! Here’s a small vocal exercise adapted from “Games for Actors and Non-Actors” by Augusto Boal:
Voice the letter ‘A’ in any of its possible inflections. Try to find as many emotions or ideas in that single letter as you can. Now try adding a movement or gesture to each vocalization. Do the same thing with ‘E’, ‘I’, ‘O’ and ‘U.'
About the Curator
Aliya Pabani is a Toronto-based artist and audio producer. Previously, she was host of Canadaland’s arts and culture podcast, The Imposter.
Aliya has produced audio work for BBC 4’s Short Cuts from Falling Tree Productions, the Toronto Biennial of Art, and her piece “Singing on the Line” will be featured in the Barbican’s upcoming Soundhouse "cinema for listening" program. She’s currently working on We Are Not the Virus, a documentary podcast that draws on the four elements—earth, water, wind, and fire—to explore aspects of life in Toronto’s encampments during the pandemic, through the stories of residents.
Aliya is a co-founder of POC in Audio, a searchable database of hundreds of POC audio makers from around the world.