In Water I’m Weightless – what means sound, anyway?

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Karina Jones and Nick Phillips In Water I’m Weightless rehearsals NTW20. All photos Kaite O’Reilly

Some great experiments with text, spoken and signed languages in rehearsals today. One of the monologues I wrote is called Switch On/Switch Off (After the Operation), about the controversial subject of cochlear implants. The monologue, structured as a speaking and signing chorus, explores the experience of ‘hearing’ for the first time.

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The piece is inspired by several friends I have on both sides of the Atlantic, who decided to have cochlear implants in their middle years. Both told me of the long process learning how to decipher and interpret what initially seemed quite abstract noise into meaningful sound.  One told me of her experience going for a walk and realising birds sang – and had different songs, notes, tone, rhythm. This notion captured my (hearing) imagination, and so provoked the monologue.

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