prakash krishnan – Audio Description: Sound Booth at the Feminist Media Studio
This piece was written and performed by Prakash Krishnan on location at the new sound booth located within the Feminist Media Studio (FMS) at Concordia University’s Loyola campus. A technology shared between the FMS and the Access in the Making Lab (AIM) this piece disrupts the notion of audio description as solely a sterile accessory within a suite of accessibility practices. Instead, it rearticulates descriptive practices as a mode of sensorial engament that is both political and feminist in nature. While members of FMS and AIM engage in projects around accesibilizing our spaces, access to the south booth is nevertheless restricted by multiple barriers. First, university protocols restricted access to buildings both during and preceding the COVID-19 related closures. Second, the FMS itself requires an authorized key card to enter and the room within which the sound booth is housed requires an additional key to be unlocked. Third, the dimensions of the sound booth itself cannot accommodate the use of a wheelchair inside. As someone able to bypass these restrictions, I described the environment in a way to fragment the booth and the space, highlighting the histories and non-neutrality of the space.
prakash is a burgeoning academic in the field of communication studies, seeking to conduct research at the intersection of queer, feminist, and critical race theories. After working in nuclear waste disposal, prakash sharply pivoted into the media sphere via major motion picture production. Witnessing the absence of diverse voices within mainstream media, prakash aims to investigate and highlight non-normative community media production, publishing, and distribution. Particularly, ways in which multiply-marginalized communities (namely QTBIPOC artists/activists) utilize alternative print and digital media as sites of identity archiving, grassroots organizing, and community building against the backdrop of white supremacist, patriarchal, and colonial societies.
Entering the Feminist Media Studio’s largest editing suite,
it is impossible to ignore the white obelisk
protruding from the ground.
Facing the entrance is one corner edge of the obelisk.
It stands over 2 meters tall and 1.5 meters wide.
The ubiquitous white of each of the two visible sides
are marked only by the edges of the series of uniform rectangular panels
that compose its exterior.
The rest of the studio space
is also quite large and bizarre.
Trapezoidal in shape,
its longest wall, the right,
ballooning the space with its creative potential.
The lower right wall is stacked with miscellaneous equipment:
seven grey foam wall panels,
two neon yellow ladders,
a pile of amorphous bean bags,
each the size of a single mattress.
The floor is marked with green painter’s tape
pointing to no clear direction
but remain as trace documents for activities once supported in the space.
It is only by crossing the room
and turning and facing back toward the entrance
is the door to the obelisk revealed.
Breaking the uniformity of the other three sides,
the door consists of a thick,
clear, glass pane in a black frame with a silver handle.
The door swings outwards
to reveal the sound booth I am standing in.
The ceiling and upper three quarters of the booth
are coated with a sound-absorbing textured dark grey foam.
Small, round hills descend from the ceiling foam
contrasted with the thick foam squares
protruding from the sides.
The equipment in the booth consists of a microphone
encapsulated inside of a metal cage
and descends from a moveable metal arm.
Supported on a small white ledge
is keyboard and mouse
corresponding to the monitor screen that hangs from above.
There is a very faint hum emerging from the ventilation fan
but all I can hear now is my own voice and breath.
is our sound booth.
[A medium-deep voice speaks in a monologue over near-perfect silence.]
[The voice is queer, soft, steady, and a little breathy.]
[medium-high pitch voice]
This video was made in the context of a two-week workshop for Talking To Each Other, a multimedia project on the topics of access, disability, and collective sound making. The workshop was facilitated by Piper Curtis and Razan AlSalah. The Talking To Each Other project was directed by Simone Lucas with the Access in the Making Lab and The Feminist Media Studio. You can find more information and the full video transcripts at accessinthemaking.ca and feministmediastudio.ca.
TALKING TO EACH OTHER: A COLLECTIVE SOUNDING PROJECT
A multi-media, collaborative research-creation project directed by Simone Lucas, with Access in the Making Lab (AIM) and the Feminist Media Studio (FMS), in partnership with Accessibilize Montreal and Suoni Per Il Popolo. In this project, the FMS, AIM, and our community partners, want to collectively work, tinker and experiment with the frictions and challenges between technologies, access and critical forms of media making.