The words will be soaked in all the sounds she did not write.
Daniela Cascella invites us to listen. Her new book bypasses the usual descriptions of venturing into the world, rapt by sound (although she wants us to do this, too), and instead allows for an intense, internal stream of sounds to collide with words on paper, enveloping the silent reader.
Cascella is a London-based reader-writer-thinker-in-sound. Like her compatriot, Calvino, she seems to ascribe to the notion of ‘translator, traitor,’ a catchphrase imagined to mean that nothing translated from one language to another (from one listening experience to another) is ever without compromise. Cascella suggests her text is a proposition: a way of thinking and writing through listening and reading. Writer becomes channel; book as transmission.
F.M.R.L.: Footnotes, Mirages, Refrains and Leftovers of Writing Sound is hardly categorizable. Its 15 sections are cohesions: references, or rather, influences from watching (film scenes); listening (music tracks, sound artist installations); physical experiences (walks through caves; sitting outside the museum panel); aural memories (a great-grandmother’s lullaby); and of course, reading pilgrimages, where a cacophony of writerly voices are ‘translated’ and thus transmitted. Novelists Clarice Lispector or Virginia Woolf might find a space next to the experimental treks of W.G. Sebald and Dorothy Richardson; writers of sound culture, David Toop and Salome Voegelin, hover like specters alongside real ghostly wordsmiths-theorists: Benjamin, Acker, Bataille.
… Writing after listening seems closer to fabulation: a creative act, grounded on its own devices and artifices, that implies a number of formal choices. It supports the ephemeral in listening. …
The text and the acronym-title take a cue from ramblings of surrealist Louis Aragon where his own ephemeralia spirals into frenetic word-play and it matters not whose voice we hear—his in italics or Cascella’s elsewhere imagining the letters prancing through her text: (frenzy-madness-reverie-love), a fame really, ever merrily, Effie marry Lee: there are words that are mirrors, optical lakes toward which hands stretch out in vain. Prophetic syllables.
Cascella’s pages tumble out to the edges like this and we are pulled back again. She seeks to reclaim the incoherence in this reading-as-listening, and to work with its residual aspects, like a distilling. Cascella reminds us of the fragility of early recordings, on the brim between keeping and vanishing.
What is the writer’s task in relation to sound? Cascella spoke at length around this; together we remixed her text in a conversation across the ocean—an appropriation of screams and the body and a meandering around the different pilgrimages she and her book have taken.
The accompanying images throughout are from installation artist Victoria May’s series Designed for General Use. Her images are resonant in concepts of transmission, physical channels, bodies, control, tenuous order and unpredictability. Cascella’s re-sounding seems a reflection of such visual artistry.
—Joan Schuman, Earlid, summer 2015