Unsound Walking


Listening is an act of community, which takes space, time and silence.

(Ursula K. Le Guin, 2016)


Mark Wright, a sound artist currently undertaking an artist’s residency within Faculty of Education with Michael Gallagher, led a session on unsound walking, as a method for investigating modes of sounding and listening as artistic practice. The notion of ‘unsound’ for our session was taken from architecture, the idea of something that is structurally unstable, fragile or precarious. An unsound walk would explore modalities of listening, which was not understood as a skill, but an open-ended encouraging of participants to listen different to our own listening.

unsound 5

Our listening walk was made in silence, with various instructions presented in writing at various points. For example, we wore earplugs, walking in contact with each other, and at different locations outside the Brooks Building experimented with the possibilities for what the world can sound like, using tubes, string, coat-hangers and our bodies.

unsound 1

These practices for exploring listening walks as a performance were playful, and seemed to help us to attune differently to the world, with an expanded sense of what it is to move, to listen, to attune. Read more about Mark’s artist residence here https://mpwair.wordpress.com/

One thought on “Unsound Walking

  1. Instructions for an Unsound Walk

    Listen at the lampposts in the broad daylight, run the risk of ridicule, put your ear up-tight.
    If you hear only silence. Don’t give up. Take another pick.
    Soon you’ll be rewarded with a whirrr whirrr tick.
    Perhaps a hmmmn hmmmn hmmmmn
    Or a chickerty chickerty chick.

    What, you want more?! More secret sounds of silence? More acoustic thrills?
    Come back close to darkness, listen at those lampposts again?!

    The point of dusk pumps up the volume as a hidden sensor winks
    Now twig brushes are magnified into chink, chink, chinks!
    The streetlights rattle and rumble the all night city vibe.
    In stronger winds they’re a moaning zombie tribe
    Uh uuuhhh uuuuhhhh
    There’s more to lampposts than meets the eye.

    So you’ve tried listening in the darkness and now you want another fix???
    How about putting your ear to the substation’s sign?

    Summon up your courage, press your ear against death’s warning.
    Strain your mind to the not-so-quiet that’s lurking.
    Register the neglected noise of mortality?
    Can you feel your own vitality?
    It’s Grimm grimm it’s grimm grimm.
    Chock! chock! chock!

    You liked that too?! You want to know what’s next ???
    Why don’t you go and piss beneath the pylons??!!

    Feel your body hairs stand on end, feel the tingle in your fingers, the throbbing in your heart?!
    The essence of life distilled, confined, contained, magnified forty thousand fold.
    A continuous low thrmmmm that fills up your brain,
    Punctuated by Perrps, Chickchicks and Fizzes.
    Perrrperty perrrrp chick fizz
    Perrrrp fizz chick

    On and on and on and on and on it goes, but nowhere near forever, just until the lights go out.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s