Sing … Singe: joyful, melancholy, ashy

We shimmer from one to the other, from a song to the ash heap.
Side by side, new stories morph, emerge.




Ominous sounds meld with hypnotic animation and absurdist recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. This short film, comprised of the American and Kurdish national anthems, is like looking into the depths of a Rorschach inkblot.

The ears are drawn towards a collision of cultural sonic icons, thrown asunder. There’s a kaleidoscopic evolution: axes, forks, knives, rifles; then snowflakes dance before us. It’s both a singing and a burning: songs of revolution. [2014]




Whitehead’s radio art has long worked with the tension between eros and thanatos, life and death, light and dark. The sing/singe dyad is very close to his heart: it sings and singes. If not strictly autobiographical, The Respirator and other outcasts features “totenklage/lacrymosa” as a track among a half dozen. It draws in spirit from the artist’s own experience in a near-fatal car crash at age sixteen, suffering injuries which rearranged his subjectivity in ways that took a very long time to get sorted. Voices sing, singe and laugh through torturous burnings. [1987]