Andrew Niess, PhD
audiovisual researcher | instrument maker | editor

a voice like

10’ 46”

a voice like is an attempt to re-attune myself to my own vocality as it is embedded in infrastructures that manage the flows of waste. I recorded my own digestive vocalities. Eating, swallowing, breathing, the bite of an apple. Through sonic bricolage, I invite myself and others to hear the opening of a trashcan lid, the sound of my urine, and the flush of a toilet as vocalities that connect us aesthetically to waste infrastructures that otherwise subtend daily life. What about the less quotidian encounters with those massively distributed prosthetic bladders and intestines called trash trucks and waste management facilities?

I followed the trash I had produced in a week from curb to Waste Management facility on Grey’s Ferry Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. The digestive vocalities in this piece come from field recordings I made while listening to incessant flows of garbage: facility inhales truck, truck ejects waste into warehouse, facility exhales truck to retrieve more waste. Seagulls caw and scavenge. The air is sour and heavy, and after two hours it is difficult to breath without nose plugs. This putrid air is the condition of possibility and progenitor of my own speech. I think of communities where trash is burned in massive heaps, about those living next to toxic sites, about how foul the air must be, how hard it must be to breathe.