either/or is a sound performance concerned with the question how should we live? Intrigued by Kierkegaard’s proposal that we should choose between two opposing ways of life, either/or explores this polarity. By sounding out each position through audio games with words, texts, field recordings and speech recordings - the sound work creates a constant movement between each position, aiming to reconcile them both and create an expanded middle between the two.

 

The opposing ways of life are termed as 'either' - a life of aesthetics and conscious hedonism and 'or' - a life of ethics and responsibility. In the installation a speaker will be positioned at either end of the room and will voice each position, creating a spatial conversation bouncing from each side of the room. The work will play through a series of sound games, exploring how the voice is used in debates – pitch and intonation in persuasion and rebuttal and how found sounds, field recording and soundscapes can create new languages with which to debate - replacing verbal communication with the interpretative and fluid interchange of sound.

 

Through this, we interrogate sounds usefulness and limitations in presenting opposing arguments while creating a spatial experience. Chance procedures disrupt the debate - muddying the water between either and or, looking for life in the space and movement in between.

The work, made by Hannah Kemp-Welch and Lisa Hall, premiered at Firstsite Gallery, Colchester, in May 2016.

Homage to Kierkegaard. V1

 

Consider Aristotle’s question ‘How should we live?’, collate your ideas and / or ideas of others that take two opposing stances to this question. Name one ‘Either’ and the other ‘Or’. Invite another person to do the same.

Write each idea on a card with the prefix of ‘Either’ or ‘Or’.
 

Play:

  1. Wind a metronome and set it to tick. Place a pack of playing cards face up between the two performers.

  2. Each performer places their pack of ‘Either’ ‘Or’ cards in a pile in front of them.

  3. Player one reads out an Either Or card, while player two interrupts them by selecting playing cards: if a red card is drawn, the reader must repeat the next word until a new card has been drawn. If a black card is drawn the reader must revert back to the beginning of the sentence and continue reading. Continue this process until the whole card has been read.

  4. Players swap roles and repeat until all cards have been read once.

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Homage to Kierkegaard. V2

 

Consider Aristotle’s question ‘How should we live?’, collate your ideas and / or ideas of others that take two opposing stances to this question. Name one ‘Either’ and the other ‘Or’. Invite another person to do the same.

 

Play:

  1. Wind a metronome and set it to tick.

  2. Place a pack of playing cards face up between the two performers.

  3. Take it in turns to select a card, when selecting red say ‘Either’ or a black card say ‘Or’.

  4. Repeat until all cards have been selected.

  5. The performance ends when the metronome stops.

​

Homage to Kierkegaard. V3

 

Consider Aristotle’s question ‘How should we live?’, collate your ideas and / or ideas of others that take two opposing stances to this question. Name one ‘Either’ and the other ‘Or’. Invite another person to do the same.

 

Play:

  1. Wind a metronome and set it to tick.

  2. Place a pack of playing cards face up between the two players.

  3. Take it in turns to select a card, if you select red spell ‘Either’ if black spell ‘Or’.

  4. At any point in the game, substitute the word Either for Neither and Or for And.

  5. Repeat until all cards have been selected.

 

Homage to Kierkegaard. V4

 

Consider Aristotle’s question ‘How should we live?’, collate your ideas and / or ideas of others that take two opposing stances to this question. Name one ‘Either’ and the other ‘Or’. Invite another person to do the same.

 

Collate sounds that represents Either and Or.

 

Play:

  1. Wind a metronome and set it to tick.

  2. Place a pack of playing cards face up between the two performers.

  3. Take it in turns to select a card. If a face card is selected begin playing a sound, or stop a sound from playing.

  4. Repeat until all cards have been selected.

  5. The performance ends when the metronome stops.