ɅV – A Sound Writing Tool
Andreas Bülhoff & Marc Matter

1. SIDE NYT: Sparse
2. SIDE 4CHAN: Sparse

Andreas Bülhoff & Marc Matter

Andreas Bülhoff (sync zine, Library of Artistic Print on Demand, SLU&ERS) and Marc Matter (Institut für Feinmotorik, The Durian Brothers, Salon des Amateurs) first met for a collaborative sound poetry performance at Poesiefestival Berlin in 2018, resulting in an ongoing artistic research of which ɅV is its latest manifestation.

«'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.' 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'»
Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass

ɅV (phonetic transcription for ‹of› or ‹off›) is a twelve-inch vinyl record consisting of spoken words, which can be used as a DJ-tool to compose an artificial dialogue.

It makes use of 32 monosyllabic words on each side which were collected from the website of the New York Times (newspaper, formal language, mainstream, liberal) and a subforum of the 4chan messageboard entitled Politically Incorrect (online messageboard, informal language, subculture, reactionary) in winter 2018/19. Recited by two synthetic voices, they mirror two opposing extremes of current online debate in the materiality of a vinyl record. This work aims to let contrasting positions of political discourse talk to each other, while stripping the language from its context to generate new text.

Mixing two copies of this record in a DJ-setup is recommended to construct unpredictable connections. To multiply the possibilities of meaning, it contains ambiguous and homophonous words only (avoiding hate speech), arranged in lists, text planes, rhythmic compositions plus four locked-grooves on each side. The artwork, designed by Jan Klöthe, features all words in phonetic transcription as well as graphic scores of all ten tracks.

ɅV is at the same time a post-digital take on sound poetry as it is created due to the current landscape of online debates and their ideologies. In the combinatorial filter bubble of this record, looped words become a writing method that may produce fragmentary narratives or arbitrary mantras.