The Sense of Auditory Things

TSOAT was a performance alluding to liminality and communitas, for The House of Beautiful Business’ 2017 Lisbon gathering. The work was intimately influenced by Victor and Edie Turner, and Moa Franzén.

Its aim was to experience (understand) liminal spaces as spaces for change and possibilities, and communitas as the spirit of togetherness and co–creation.

I’m interested in liminal spaces we access when we join gatherings, conferences, or workshops that are distanced from our home and our everyday (like The House of Beautiful Business), where we are, at once: ‘what we came as’ + ‘what is being influenced by each other’ + ‘someone we haven’t become’.

The spirit of communitas is accessible if we consider this performance as our moment of ‘doing together’; in this case, by turning sounds into a piece of auditory art, nothing more.

The emergence of communitas can only be conveyed properly through living accounts or real events– that is, stories. Since describing or analyzing communitas renders it ‘what it is not’, music is an ideal medium because it tells so much yet does not make a detour through language.

In the space betwixt and between sound and piece lives the evasive spirit of communitas– a group’s pleasure in sharing common experiences; togetherness. This is the creation by something that, if named, it is no more. 
As we were involved becoming It, this auditory story is how we know it happened.

Here is the intro to our session:

Introduction to the session

Here’s the audio to bring the mood in:


Once things “went”, this is what we made, a piece called “The Genesis of Robotics“:

Transcripts of the dialogue played during the session:


In the space betwixt and between sound and piece lives the evasive spirit of communitas– a group’s pleasure in sharing common experiences; togetherness. This is the creation by something that, if named, it is no more.

We will record sounds, voices, questions and silences from our session, and transform into a piece of collective auditory art. 

We will be left with a recording, because stories are the only way to document the occurrence of communitas, but the recording itself –the content and the result– is irrelevant.  Let’s see if we can conjure invisible things together, in the liminal space that HOBB made for us and that you agreed to access.


Communitas is a gift of liminality, the state of being betwixt and between. Communitas is togetherness itself. It is an unstructured community in which people are equal, or the very spirit of community; it’s characteristic of people experiencing liminality together. It is a delicate “agreeing to help one another”.

Communitas can be transmuted into a sense of siblinghood throughout a tribe, where individual ownership of it is unthinkable because there is a loss of ego—that “self” that looks around and compares, watching our real self. It is communal closeness of collective joy.

The key to experience communitas is not liminality per se, but the more general factors that help to produce the stage: the inversion of the structural order, and the abandonment of status. Communitas exists without help from the intellect, where the intellect often does not know how to deal with it.

Music can be pure communitas.

Music is the genre that is by its very nature the most ephemeral. Music will always die. It exists only as long as the vibrations continue. Music is not found in structures or abstracts. It does not depend on words or on obeying the rules, because the sound in the form of music does not make a detour through language.

While liminality brings a dissolution of one’s sense of identity to some extent (bringing along disorientation), it also brings the possibility of new perspectives, thoughts, and experiences. Liminality is regarded as a time and place of withdrawal from normal modes of social action, where the structure of society is temporarily suspended, and where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are undone.

Communitas arises when people let go into negative capability, which itself is a condition of creativity, a readiness without preconceived ideas.  It does not merge identities; the gifts of each and every person are alive to the fullest.

Silence is a tool for sound production.

Silence is the words we do not yet have.
Truth– that which we establish between us.
Silence– a failed discourse.
Space– where we appear differently.

This is a space activated by relations.

Language– the collective agreement that a limited tool is better than silence.

Desire, my voice in your mouth.

I wish one of you would whisper me a poem.

We named the rain.

A gap is another entrance.

Communitas– a wandering space that puts itself out of place.

Fear– that which we establish in order for a thing not to happen. Hold your breath.

I fear that if I fall asleep here I might not wake up as a girl again. Tengo manos de grande.

Words happen to you.

Attention– the present you just gave me.

Silence is a social process.


To my muse of sound and conciseness Nicole Luján. To the encouragement and intrepidity of Tim Leberecht. To the infinity mirror that is Patrik Karlson, and a new, shiny one in Jonathan Cook. In Berlin and in Lisbon; 2017.