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Gloomy Sunday on a Tuesday: the unsound voices of suicide re-membered through sound poetics

Gloomy Sunday, On a Tuesday (10 min.) is a sound collage of repeated, recycled and cyclical recorded voices singing and saying different versions of “Gloomy Sunday,” (a.k.a.) “The Hungarian Suicide Song” (1933) by Rezso Seress, in every day cityscapes. Theses voices are positioned alongside a sound poem that responds to re-memberings of the song and its hauntological (Derrida, Specters of Marx xx) relation to suicide and mourning. The poem juxtaposes my perception of “Gloomy Sunday” (1933) as a song that vocalizes modern alienation, defeat and processes of mourning against a distorted and fictionalized memory of my mother’s suicide within family narratives that buried her death it in secrecy. My reading of the poem will be layered between voices of “Gloomy Sunday” creating auditory hallucinations that “mishear” the content of what is being “said” (in the song) towards a repetition of mourning that does not recover, but rather opens-up new orientations towards listening to a fragmented voice. Building upon Canadian composer, Raymond Murray Schafer’s, tradition of “Sound Souvenirs,” I will use audio technologies to reconstruct memories of “Gloomy Sunday” that attend to a past in which I did not participate. My interest in this sound recording method is to explore how sound poetics can move beyond text into realms of perception that re-member (put it back together in a new way) an event, and re-open experience in ways that do not cover-over its emotional voice, but attempt to utter its story of suffering in otherwords. The recorder’s ability to amplify and superimpose sound enables a rediscovery of the human voice as a site of memory, imagination and music.




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