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Sound & Transgender Identity

by Helena Ford

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Part A 09:27
Part B 08:05


Artist statement:

I create sound sculpture and sound art in order to best express the ideas and emotions I convey in my music. In using the guiding principles of repetition, drone, acousmatic listening; I incorporate the experience of transness into tangible works of sonic art. By deconstructing sounds through repetition and re-contextualization, I embed the fluidity and complexity of transness into works of sonic art. The feedback portions require a re-tuning of the ears; the pulsating noise and screeches are meant to convey the tumultuous relationship between gender identity and it’s relative space in society in the sense that the vast majority of individuals do very little to re-tune their experience to accommodate the experiences of trans people. This musical experience can be found in the words of Donna Haraway: “The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labour, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity.” This form of music allows one to either experience the world of the cyborg or to become one; much as the cyborg metaphor is symbolic of postmodern trans existence, away from the isolated and archaic gender concepts of the past. The liberating effects of noise should move the purveyor of the noise beyond “unalienated labor”.

As part of a continuing series on the relationship between Sound & Transgender Identity, this release is an exercise in random and feedback incidents; I aim to use a truly improvisational instrument in order to immerse the listener in what Haraway conveys in the cyborg, being one of higher unity with one’s gender, gender identity, and expression. Using feedback, no input mixing, and some synthesizers, I aim to create chaotic and noisy soundscapes that fully engages the listener in the world of the transgender experience (being one persons: my own). Furthermore, I wish to add my work to the Transgender Lexicon: although it can be extraordinarily isolating, is a huge community filled with a diverse set of identities; and should one choose to channel their identity into their art, it further adds to the lexicon of this culture. It is also my contention that many do this to flee from the typical Western bourgeois musical model by incorporating many themes and elements of contemporary and non-western music theory, or even non-musical elements. These shared experiences produce a cohesive narrative; it is often an emotional journey; artists often write about the isolation of being a trans person and the intense bigotry that comes from living as a trans person in today’s society.


released January 21, 2021


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Hard Return UK

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