SUMMONING (No Words) is a sound temple built of the female voice.
SUMMONING (No Words) is theatrical and immersive, recalling the origins of artistic practice in ritual, temple, ceremony, renewal and community. SUMMONING (No Words) is part one of the series: Temple of Our Madness, whose thematic concerns include violence against women; species and landscape extinction and the rights of girls.
For SUMMONING (No Words), seven female composer / vocalists each created an original vocal composition responding to the theme of violence against women. The works were composed individually, the artists working without knowledge of what the other singers were creating. Each artist composed their work within simple compositional parameters set out by the project's composer consultant. Their pieces were then edited and programmed into an interactive sound design.
The result is a temple of female voices, some referencing a specific tradition or culture, some working in contemporary and experimental forms. This soundscape is layered on top of a soundscape of whispered audio which includes poems, invocations, prayers and stories contributed by members of the community. As audience members move through the space, their bodies activate the sound and the voices emerge, overlap, build, crescendo and recede. The experience changes with every physical interaction.
The temple walls are created from ninety individual fabric panels created by the artists and community members using ancient Shibori indigo dyeing techniques. The resulting designs evoke images of sound waves.
As part of the participatory nature of the work, audience members are invited to create a small ritual bundle to place around the central cauldron as an evocation of healing, remembrance and love.
The project involved many community members who participated in the creation of the spoken audio and also the dyeing, sewing and raising of the temple walls. Working with fibre is traditionally the work of women, a place and time where they may gather, chat and process their lives. Over the course of five open studios, more than thirty people participated in the process of hand-dyeing ninety Shibori panels using plant-based indigo dye.
An activating ritual, performed before the exhibition opened and created in the tradition of Wiccan practice, set the intention of the project to increase acknowledgment of violence against women, foster healing and stir empowerment.
SUMMONING (No Words)' premiere exhibition at Oxygen Art Center in Nelson, BC (2017), saw over 650 audience members come through and experience the work.