Zeitung für neue und experimentelle Musik

noies chimären jasmina al-qaisi: cuchicheo* with nicole l’huillier

März 2024

Jasmina met with Nicole L'Huillier in her studio in Berlin. All the utterances that they shared together are mixed in a co-writing process readable, visible and audible in the following article. The wires, silicones and conductors whistle various versions of world-sensing. While grasping, they lose frequencies and they melt the difference between emitting and receiving between devices and themselves.
Still from Nicole L’Huillier’s work »Leche Holográfica«, in collaboration with Patricia Dominguez, 2021

*A colloquial word that is used a lot in Chile and other parts of Latin America that means chit-chatting, whispering, Cic Cic Cic

Disclaimer: This article contains non transcribed audio files. There is different material for seeing and hearing.

in black: knowledge that fixes the context in third person
in blue: poetics of membranes
in green: quotes from books
in purple: glossary of pluriversal terms
in red: quotes from the artist

tone__________me down

Nicole builds different dispositives for sensing-hearing in multidimensional ways and as well reconnects with vibrational imaginations. Nicole has a practice of interacting with visibleinvisible and entities, creating cycles of givingreceiving which sometimes collide into sound art words and worlds. This text to hear and see you are diving in is a meeting between two artists augmenting listening and hearing in different ways: Nicole uses microphones to make wide ears, and I, Jasmina, use microphones to listen with my hands. We meet somewhere in augmentation, where we learn, create and lose track in a multitude of languages and beyond colonial tongues, in a kind of inseparable cohabitation. Space that drives us towards the resonance of both joy and immense curiosity towards life.

I actually went to architecture school in Chile. I am originally let’s say an architect in a past life. Everything I do comes from this space of architecture thinking. But also sound and vibration. Like from construction materials. Not bricks but as brics. When things are in relation, spaces occur.

Relation, listening, emitting, collaborators, vibration, skin… piel de tierra …

We met in the mindset of experiencing the double membrane. While Nicole wants to have us try out using the Cuchicheos as both receiving and emitting, I bring into play the listening mouth, which stands for expanding listening.

Nicole explaining the Cuchicheo as a dual membrane

In hope for a possible time shift, we shift the clock into non linear time poetics; envisioning some of the moments to come, when we listen more with other membranes, and less with our ear drums: when hearing gets less and less sharp. Sensory hair cells do not regenerate and so frequencies disappear from the existent range of hearing years. The question to hearing ear drums holders is: shall we train to listen more with other body parts? Is that a perception shift?

I think it is a worry that many of us artists who work with sound and music have. I was a reckless drummer, the louder the better, and now I hear like shit and people tell me I do not have an ear. Luckily I am not working in classical music. curiosity ≈ volume increasing ≈ hearing less ≈ hearing loss We damage ourselves because of the love we have for these sounds. I try to find softer ways.

How is our common body is preparing for sensing space? Sensing vibrations?
We start with the room, the studio, the cocoon:

universo vibrational, inseparability, possible world,

Nicole describing her art process and vibrational imaginations

Introducing listening hands. I put two small omni microphones in my palms. While recording, I listen and speak. I trained my listening hands to water, under barks of trees, close to uttering of dancers, insects, waterfalls, gardens, and swampy volcanos. Listening hands means I listen augmented, like a cyborg, overwhelming my ear drums with headphones blasting high volumes. Probably this augmentate curiosity and high volumes contributed to my hearing damage. I move my hands as they would be extensible ears. I hack time and age faster. And I live in this intensified reality as long as it lasts.

relations, sense, interpretation, explanation, poetic interludes, silence 

To me Nicole works are ears. All-ears. She is building these ears, which are receiving and as well pushing information away. This leads me to think that our eardrums are listening and as well resonating. So they send further. The body as a technology has an intention of letting go of meaning. Maybe with time you are built to receive the world through other organs. It seems like the body, in how it’s built, lets go of meaning even if it seems to be so important. Maybe with time the body is meant to hear with other parts.

let go of hearing – let’s go hear
lets lets                 let’s let’s 
my grandma 
got louder with age
beautiful and disturbing
says my tinitus
listening to a future self
sin palabras

We met to try something that she took as a kind of second stage: to invert the function of the microphones and turn them into speakers. Emitters and receivers simultaneously. This is a noisy emission.

All of these come from the Earth. Copper. We put the intention to give back to the Earth through resonance. Nicole has this multidimensional understanding of hearing and listening. For her emitting and capturing goes beyond technological possibilities of reproduction of sound which often reminds us of for instance… surveillance. Technology extends to technique, connecting, communicating, living together as matters do. I call Nicole a Placitect. Like a technologist of placing things.

system, dense, signals, output, glued, universes, verses


Listening mouth 
Listening skin
Listening body
Listening hands
Listening ears
Speaking ears
Speaking body
Speaking skin 
Listening speaking 

practice reality, discourse

There is a wide range of co-existence between the artist and the tools of hearing the world, or making the world audible, release in the world. All that is being described, contained and cohabited by discourse. What are the limits to discourse in art that reclaims cosmological intelligibility and scope and where does institutionalisation begin to rationalise it and even capitalise on it? I knit two questions into two chairs on which we can rest our spines from the pressing weight of central European power structures entering our receptors. To work between the borders of channelling and reproducing carves a kind of sense of reality beyond representation.

As an incursion into Nicole’s practice beyond representation and against hegemony of archives, we discuss her last exhibition in Stuttgart. Nicole was guided in the making of those exhibition by the Mochica healer and cultural activist Karen Urcia Arroyo together with the artist and archeologist Francisca Gili who engaged and reproduced whistling vessels from the Andean Moche culture objects held into the collection of Linden Museum Stuttgart. Together with sounds of audiences, contributors and conductors, and after a technological intervention by Manaswi Mishra, these sounds created in the context of this exhibition, will be sent to Huaca de la Luna, Temple of the Moon, in Peru. 

Nicole and I are going back to resting our spines. I sense this attempt as a distortion of the pedestal of the eurocentric idea of an archive, turning it into a reiteration of spacious time of healing and reentering relations. 

Una pluma de condor

What I wanted to do is to question the notion of archive as something static that was, that is forced to belong to the past. Like the vessels, these entities are part of a collection. They are archived and put in a box in a room and they can’t be as dynamic and alive as they should be, because in the first place they are supposed to be in relation.

About the process of Resonaciones exhibition

Crear es símil de criar. (This is often reminded to me by Francisca Gili, who is also inspired by the work of Elvira Espejo 💕)

Entonces Una creación tiene que ver con una criación. Por ejemplo, yo tengo a la Lunita. De una manera muy rara yo puedo ser: yo crear a la Lunita. Pero yo estoy criando a este ser dia a dia. Continues nurturing. With this work it is the same. Cuando una crea algo tambien lo esta criando. Tambien esta plasmando las ideas de una, las emociones de una. Igual con la Lunita. Esta pasando esto, pero igual con la Lunita, they are going to become whatever the fuck they want.

To which I respond: Criardura. I’m being led to the library.
And inevitably we meet together in the word plays of Cecilia Vicuña.

Musica corporal
sus formas transforman
nacen y mueren
y se solazan
en la union

Body music
its forms transform
get born and die
and they are amused
in unison

al que

to which
we co-penetrate

Amos del com
pene y entrar

Ruler of com
pene and enter

Amos y duenos
del palabras
o aman ellas
nuestro labrar

Rulers and owners
of words
or lovers them
our work

Page 38 in Palabrarmas by Cecilia Vicuña (English translations by Jasmina Al-Qaisi) 

My fingers tremble in this language. My fingers tremble in this language. I misspell
My fingers tremble in this language. My fingers tremble in this language. I misspell
My fingers tremble in this language. My fingers tremble in this language. I misspell
And my computer corrects me repeatedly

These relational spaces also invite us to inhabit time. So in the end all of these things come together.

Cassette we made together recording listening and emitting

Nicole L’Huillier (b. 1985) is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher from Santiago, Chile. Her practice centers on exploring sounds and vibrations as construction materials to delve into questions of agency, identity, collectivity, and the activation of a vibrational imagination. Her work materializes through installations, sonic/vibrational sculptures, custom-made (listening and/or sounding) apparatuses, performances, experimental compositions, membranal poems, and writing. She holds a Ph.D. in Media Arts & Sciences from MIT (2022).

Jasmina Al-Qaisi is a poet.

Jasmina’s AI Chimäre is based on her answers to these 3 questions:

If you could live in another time, which would it be?

Whenever I could be a berry seed in the belly of a small flying Sauria.

If you were an animal, which one would it be?

I would like to be a symbiont, probably a rhizobia bacteria between beans, squash and corn.

What is your favorite season of the year?

My favorite season of the year is harvesting season somewhere around Danube.