respectacle: experiment in sound art

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This sound project was prepared for the ShortDocs event of Chicago's Third Coast Festival, 2006. It is in mockumentary style: children in a behavior program speak up about respect, against the metaphorical soundscape of the Institution.

There is often a difference between what we assert and what we experience in the world around us — what we teach children and what they really hear.

The children's voices here are genuine — full of hope despite their histories of "disrespect" — recorded as part of another project. Their voices contrast with a simulated institutional background — chaotic, ironic — a metaphor for the clash of innocence and dismay.

Third Coast's "99 Ways to Tell a Story" was an experiment in documentary radio style and execution inspired by the French literary group Oulipo, in which constraints are used as a means of triggering ideas and inspiration. The constraints: (1) Produce a piece that starts: "To begin with, they never got along." (2) Incorporate 3 specific sounds (pre-recorded voice, a rhythmic noise, an exclamation). (3) Limit to 2 min 30 seconds.


Listen (MP3, 2:30 min) This piece was designed for intense stereo listening, so turn up your speakers or put on your headphones.

August 2006