My project is an update of the sound poem "Ursonate" by Hugo Ball a German author and poet associated with the Dada movement. My process was typing a series of nonsense plosive sounds into Google Translate's Voice-Text feature and letting it run, the sounds serving as constituent parts of the work as a whole. I recorded it as it played and put the audio into Garage Band, making an audio file. The contribution I hope to make to both the Dada and Sound Poetry dialogues is on of nonsense--in particular, what in today's world constitutes nonsense. Is our nonsense digitally produced? Is there now more or less intentionality behind our nonsense than their used to be? Does our own nonsense now carry more or less signification? Similarly, it interrogates the relationship between poetry as visual versus audio medium, serving only as a phonetic piece of work.
In my recording, I have included an introduction that incorporates text from Ball's original reading at the Cafe Voltaire. Additionally, I explain there why my work is not just a digital analogue of the original. It is only really similar to the original piece in its motivation-- none of the sounds are the same and my piece is significantly shorter. This is intentional, symptomatic of a change in aesthetic outlook in the time since the original, both poetry and music holding attention for a shorter amount of time anymore. I chose "Ursonate" because it is a brutist sound poem-- the words written intentionally instead of generated randomly or mashing texts together. I was drawn to this because it allowed a lot more leeway in creating the work.
The sound file for the poem is linked below.