Hi, I’m Ben.
This is the second invitation for In-body, called Sounding Out.
It’s available as an audio score, or as a written score. It should take around 15 minutes and can be done any time and in any place, though you will be invited to move from an inside space to an outside space and to bring something back inside with you. You will also be invited to make some noise.
You’ll be listening to my voice and the sounds around you, or reading from this text. If you’re going to be listening it’s best to do so without headphones, or if you need to use them, then I’d suggest wireless headphones if possible, and you might need to take one earbud out from time to time.
There might be other people in the spaces in which you do this score, and it can be done alone or with others.
In this score we will be exploring objects, materials, and the sounds they make. Sound might be many things for you: audible, tactile, imaginative. I like to remember that sound is vibration, movement, oscillation. It passes from one medium to another, transforming along the way.
Objects and materials might be held, touched, remembered or brought to mind and body in other ways.
Welcome to Sounding Out, the second invitation for In-body. I’m Ben.
I invite you to go through this score section by section, returning to the score as much or as little as you need, depending on what you remember of it, and on what feels useful in holding and feeding your experience. You may want to read the whole thing before starting, but you might just want to dive in.
I suspect you’re in some kind of indoor space, but no worries if you’re outdoors, you might just need to bring a little extra creativity to some of the suggestions.
Find a spot where you feel comfortable, perhaps somewhere close to a window. You might be sitting, standing or lying, you might change position. You might have your eyes open or closed, or change as you wish. Do whatever you need to do to both settle and feel ready to start.
Once you have found a stillness, perhaps notice the movement of your breath in your body. In and out of your body.
I’ll be taking you on a journey, starting from the place you are now, moving around the room or immediate space you’re in, then going outside it and coming back in. Along the way I’ll be inviting you to do specific actions and to sense or imagine certain things. You might find other interpretations to these invitations than the ones that I imagined.
It’s a windy and overcast day here, cool with a slight damp in the air, the windows are open and I can hear construction work and pigeons, there’s quite a catchy pop song playing from somewhere near.
What’s the weather like where you are? Can you see or hear out of your window? Or even smell the wind, rain, dust? How is the weather moving the world around you?
What sounds do you hear? Do they come from near or far? From inside the space you’re in or from outside? If you’re in a room with a window, maybe head over and open it, or if it’s already open, close it for a moment. What’s changed?
Either stay by your window, or find somewhere new to place yourself in your space.
What’s the temperature of the air on your skin? Is it the same everywhere on your body? Do you feel any movement of air on your skin? If you begin to move around is anywhere in your space where the air is warmer? Cooler? Can you find a draft or breeze?
Perhaps lift a hand in front of your mouth and feel your outbreath. Your exhale might be cool and directed like blowing out a candle or dandelion, or open, warm and full like trying to mist up glass, or the screen of a phone. What does it sound like? Begin to trace a line down your arm using your exhale, and continue onto and around your body, where is easy to reach? Where is more challenging? At some point your breath might slip off your body and begin to trace pathways through your space.
Oscillation of inbreath and outbreath, drawing air into yourself and sending it back out into the world.
Move to place an ear, or another part of your head against something: a wall, the floor, a tree, your arm or a cupped hand, whatever presents itself. You might press into this surface firmly, folding your ear and skin like origami, or have a lighter touch. What does it feel like? Texture? Temperature? You might want to block off the other ear if needed. What do you hear? The echoes of the sea? The wind? Your own pulse? The creaks and cracks of the world around you adjusting itself?
If you ever get a quiet moment to press your ear to a tree trunk I really recommend it, you might be surprised.
Perhaps as you press your ear into whatever surface you chose you can extend your sense of yourself through this contact, like a spider in its web, your nervous system reaching beyond your skin and into the world. Sounds travel across boundaries and through materials. They leak and spill and spread.
Lift your ear away from the surface. What sounds and sensations are you making from within your body? The sound of your breath, heartbeat, stomach rumbling, the feeling of your body in space, joints cracking, or a pop song on repeat in your mind. When composer John Cage stepped into a fully soundproofed room he still heard a high pitch: his nervous system, and a low drone: his circulation. Inside, outside and travelling through your body, there is always sound.
Does the place that you’re in feel like it’s inside or outside? Or perhaps it’s better to ask what is it inside of and what is it outside of? You might be indoors or outdoors, you might be inside one room within the rest of the building, or in a chair with the rest of the room surrounding you, you might be inside your clothing, or with a hand in your pocket, or be inside your own thoughts with the rest of your body and the world is beyond that.
Can you place one hand inside the other? Or wrap your arms around your body, how does it feel to both touch and be touched, to hold and be held?
If you are in a room or building, think of all the ways things enter this space – through doors and letterboxes, catflaps, light coming in through windows, webpages loading and films streamed. And all the ways things exit: water draining into the sewage system, bags of recycling and rubbish, smoke up the chimney if you have one, emails and texts sent to friends.
However you’re distinguishing and sensing inside and outside, in a moment it’ll be time to leave the inside and go outside, which might be going outdoors or into a corridor or another room. As you go, notice the moment of crossing the threshold that defines inside and outside, you might dwell a little in this moment, this transgression, half in and half out. If you’re not going out yet, perhaps now is a good moment to start.
Once outside, take a moment to arrive in this new space, how does it sound, smell? How is the light different? How big does it feel? What’s the furthest thing you can see? Or hear?
Search for an object or material to bring back inside, something that might not normally be “inside”, be that in your room, building, pocket, grasped in your closed hand, or in your imagination. If you need a little time you might want to pause this recording to find and collect an object or material and bring it back inside with you.
Have you brought your object or material back inside with you?
Hold it for a moment, what is its texture, its weight? How is your hand or arm, or imagination touching it? Meeting it? How does holding it change the way you are organising your body?
Place it carefully somewhere. Leave it. What does it do to your space? What does knowing it’s there do to you? You might want to try it out in several places, feeling where it might be more or less at home. You might play with where you place yourself in relation to this material, where do you feel more or less at home?
As both you and this object move through your space, what sounds do you make? What sounds could you make? You might start to incorporate other objects and parts of your body into your sound-making… Have a play, follow whatever interests you!
Sounds can be made by two surfaces touching together- tapping, clapping, flicking, rolling… You might slide one surface along another, or rub two surfaces together, you might rotate or spin one surface on another. You might use your breath to move something.
How long do these sounds last? What is the longest sound you can make? What’s the shortest? The softest sound or the loudest noise you dare make?
Where might be best to hear these sounds you’re making? Can you hear them through the air or through another material? What do they sound like up close or from further away? Maybe pause reading this score and use your phone to record some of these sounds you’re making. Feel free to send them in to us here at In-body, and keep an ear out for them in future invitations!
Once you’ve explored sound making to your satisfaction. Take a moment for you and the objects and materials you’ve been sounding with to settle. In this stillness, what sounds and sensations present themselves to you? Breath, heartbeat, desires to move and make sound or to be still.
If you feel you’d like to return to any of the explorations in this invitation please feel free to do so, either with the audio or without.
And let us know how you’ve got on, we look forward to hearing about your experiences, and some of the sounds you’ve been creating!
This is the end of the score.
Share with us
We would love for you to share the experiences you have with each other. Our In-Body diary is gathering snapshots of our experiences of the different invitations as we move through each one. We invite you to submit an image, text or short audio or film via this form and/or share your experiences online via social platforms using #InBody. You could post a picture, write something, or speak something, be as creative as you like. We will populate our In-Body diary with your monthly responses so that we can keep connected through this journey. Your responses will only be viewed by other In-Body participants if you submit through this website.