We forgot to ask her name. Not forgot, that’s evasive. Didn’t would be more accurate. Or, never had the chance to ask her anything. But why didn’t she tell us all the same? I know why. If we knew her name, we’d know who she was, but we’re still finding her. She surprises, turning up anywhere and everywhere. This time she came mainly from the sound sculptures I had been making for the last few years. In the scrape between horse hair and slate, in a gurgly bubble rising up a drainpipe. . . Sounds and forms that prompted memories of imagined opportunities lost many years before. And brief glimpses into a future world. Moments of pure joy that disappear as soon as recognised. But although she is everywhere, still we search, and gradually we’ve learnt to look just in the gaps. She fills the space between a sound and a sight, making them one. She follows a word’s transition from existing first as a thought inside a head then a muscular impulse in the larynx, before being set free as vibrations in the air, only to return in a different form through the tympanum of the ear into the same head. A vortex of changing meaning.
No, let’s be honest. Don’t want to know her name. Scared of knowing her name. It’s the search we like and know. Look in the triangular forms that hold a structure rigid but allow a graceful and sure motion inside. Or the soft edges of hard stone worked for centuries by water on a riverbed. Look in the yodel between the different registers of a voice. Look in the gentle harmony of a double bass that responds to wind in the leaves, knowing that the leaves can never reciprocate. Or in the elusive resonance of a network of mined-out tunnels. Look inside - you, not me - at that feeling of growing self-knowledge, somehow coping with all your secret fears, wishes and prides. Look at the trust between a person and the world, still hopeful after generations and half a lifetime’s experience of dreams battered or shattered.
a song. And it came from the sculptures. That much we know. And that it
keeps changing. Sure, we sometimes lose it, but we know we will keep rediscovering
it. Let’s not worry about her name. I’ve got it now. Impossible
to know her name. She is the only one that can.