Reassembled, Slightly Askew

Reassembled, Slightly Askew is the document of Shannon Yee's traumatic cranial surgeries, needed to save her life after suffering multiple infections, and the effects on her life post-surgery.

Greeted by a nurse as the show begins, you're asked to fill out an in patient form and then given a hospital wrist tag. Led to a hospital bed, you lie down, put on an sleep mask and headphones, and begin the journey into the living nightmare of Shannon's mind for the months that she spent in the hospital ICU. 

The narrative of Reassembled, Slightly Askew is presented through the medium of radio drama, and is an exceptional example of sound's power to tell a story, especially a story as subjective as this. Recorded and composed by SARC's Paul Stapleton, making special use of the Neumann KU100 Binaural dummy head, a soundscape of obscured voices and fractured ambiences puts you near the emotional core of Shannon's story; just outside the blast radius of  such a life changing event. 

It's a reminder of the fragility of our everyday lives and identities, with the greatest of reliefs being that you can cut off your wrist tag after the show and choose to become a person again, not a patient. 

The Impossible Address on Inisheer

Last weekend Martin Sharry, Timmy Creed and myself gave a special performance of The Impossible Address on Inisheer island, the place that inspired the work.


The weekend began on a fraught note, with me making the last ferry from Rossaveal with only 10 minutes to spare, thanks to several delaying incidences. 

To try and further develop the ideas in the show, we decided to  hold a sound walk on the island before the show. The intention behind it was primarily that it might 'activate' the listening of the participants before the show, and hopefully allow them to engage with the show more readily. 

Myself and Martin carried out a recce of the route on the misty Saturday morning. Even though there is a stillness to the island, we identified three particular acoustic atmospheres to the route. Looking across the Foul Sound between Inisheer and Inishmaan we could see Galway Hookers sailing in the mist. 

The weather, unpredictable by a factor of ten this far west, didn't work in our favour for the sound walk. After a beautiful afternoon, the curtains of mist descended again. The first half of the walk was an isolating experience. I had asked everyone to walk with some distance between them and the person in front, and to refrain from talking. This silent march was made more sombre by the rain, wind and almost total absence of bird song. 

We stopped at tobar Éanna, a well that in folklore has the power to heal. We made the decision to turn back due to the weather, which of course, once we had set on our way back, cleared and provided some glorious sounds and sights. The most interesting contrast was the bursting back into life of the sound of the island. Once the wind had died down and some shafts of sunlights had broken through the cloud, the birds began to sing loud and in multitudinously. I handed my recording gear around to allow people to listen through the microphones, and note the difference in perception.

We arrived back to carry out the performance of The Impossible Address which for various reasons had an intensity that wasn't present at the previous performances at the Collaborations festival. It was a good experience, though probably left some of the audience feeling uncomfortable. Not necessarily a bad thing either.