SoundWords, soundwords.tumblr.com, is a blog for phonographic writing that attempts to write about sound and the listened to without simply relying on adjectives and adverbs, (loud, quiet, noisy, harsh) but by expanding sentences, inventing words and neglecting grammar to accommodate the invisible ephemerality and passing nature of sound.
This textual phonography produces not a recording of the heard but of listening, which creates another sound in the imagination of the reader that is not the sound the writer heard but the sound generated in her action of perception of reading about sound. The recording in words of what she heard does not invite the recognition of an object or a subject, but triggers a generative interpretation: the production in the reader’s auditory imagination of what it might have been that the writer heard, and what he might remember to have heard, or might go on to hear as a possibility of these words and her present auditory environment.
This phonographic writing notates not a solipsistic listening however. Listening is never separate from the social relationships but is the basis for collective experience of the world and of work.
This listening blog has developed from a solo writing effort by Voegelin into a public engagement. SoundWords has been used as a template for a participatory public listening and writing and has been practised, for example as part of a residency at Around Sound Art festival and conference in Hong Kong January 24 - February 7 2013, at In The Field International Symposium for Field Recording at the British Library, February 15 and 16 2013, at Sound Reason in Delhi, November 2013, and at Liquid Architecture Festival in Melbourne in 2014 (with Catherine Clover).
Currently the project is undergoing a further development to become a truly shared venture of listening and writing together to produce collective texts of an improvised hearing.