Raphaelle Bessette-Viens – Wee-ou (Walking Home)
‘Weee-ou’ is an intimate and playful exploration of the fleeting nature of listening and interpreting and searches for possible ways to integrate visual and auditive components in a preoccupation for accessibility. The idea behind the soundpiece came from a desire to untangle an apparent incompatibility between the need for clarity in subtitles and closed captions, and the use of opacity as resistance. On one hand, making sound accessible to the non-hearing would entail finding an exact and objective description of audio. On the other, listening is understood as a subjective experience shaped by memory, culture, and body and where opacity can be a form of resistance to extraction. Bringing together both preoccupations for accessibility with possible open-ended forms, the piece is composed of a recorded soundscape, of three overlapping voices that imitate its sounds, and of a video that shows the handwritten subtitles of each imitation.
Raphaelle Bessette-Viens is a doctoral student in the HUMA PhD program at Concordia University. Their collaborative research-creation project investigates the affective trajectories of persons undergoing elective breast and torso surgeries. Their research interests engage with critical disability, crip and queer theories and their approach is rooted in a transfeminist analysis which is non-essentialist and intersectional. Coming from a background in gender studies and visual anthropology, they are interested in the ways collaborative filmmaking can be used to investigate the intimate experiences of individuals engaging in surgical trajectories and question normative representations of bodies.
[middle-high pitch voice says, “weeeeeeee-ou”]
[wind in the microphone, voices imitate]
[cars go by, voices imitate]
[our steps tread lightly, voices imitate]
[mumbled speech in the background, voices imitate]
[birds chirp, voices imitate]
[keys tingle, voices imitate]
[a creaking door opens, voices imitate]
[we are home]
[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.