I responded to a call-out for a sound artist to work with Deaf performance and movement artist Chisato Minamimura on her Snape Residency during early September. I was chosen to participate and then collaborated with Chisato on her project, creating a ‘Deafscape’ of the Snape Maltings site. The piece explored ways of visualising soundscapes for a Deaf audience using visual vernacular, British Sign Language, and film.

INPUT:OUTPUT is a performance experiment that looks at ways to make music a more inclusive experience. Chisato’s collaborative, Deaf-led approach challenges assumptions about who can create soundscapes and what musical performances may look, sound, or feel like from a Deaf perspective.

I worked together with Chisato to make a sound map of Snape Maltings, where my subjective spoken descriptions of directional sounds as I heard them occurring live within the landscape, became the basis for Chisato to create a piece visualising those sounds in multiple ways, translating and presenting information on multiple levels at once, on film. I then also created a soundtrack for the film using a combination of field recordings made during the week, abstract sound design, and minimal drone music.

The finished 10-minute piece was presented as a film for Festival of New at Snape Maltings, Suffolk, on 10 September 2022, alongside a talk by Jennifer Lucy Allan about visualising sound, and a presentation by Chisato of one of her previous works exploring sound made earlier this year at Firstsite Colchester, entitled ‘Deaf for 4’33’.

stills from the film, showing: Chisato Minamimura filmed from above by a drone opening her hands; visual vernacular of fingers snapping open and closed, birds in flight; Loula Yorke pointing to the location of a sound, BSL interpreter Rose translating Loula’s spoken words; an aerial view of Snape Maltings site.

Q&A after the film showing with Chisato Minamimura & Loula Yorke, facilitated by BBC Radio 3’s Jennifer Lucy Allan