In this work I wanted to produce an audio portrait of subjects documented in the intimate act of tickling. A range of sensations from delight to distress may be experienced when one is being tickled, and I became especially interested in the depth of "body memory" recalled in tickling. The sounds produced by the subjects of the work recalled the pure phoneme sound, or "Zaum" poetry, of native peoples and European experimentalists, hence: "Zaum tick l' Eee".

A digital audio tape was produced of a couple tickling each other, the tape was then sampled, edited on a Macintosh, and looped on cassette players embedded in foam sculptures.

The sound objects surreally linked the interactor to the visual poetics of the work, transforming anyone listening with a pair of transmogrified headphones into a costumed performer. One sculpture is cut from a foam rubber block, roughly in proportion to a birthday cake, and is equipped with rabbit fur headphones. The second sculpture is made of aerosol foam insulation, producing the appearance of a morphed intestinal-hive. The headphones attached to the second work are adorned with rooster feathers, which create a flame-like appearance.

After Words:
In each of the looping soundtracks there is an evident exchange of power between the
tickler and the tickle-ee. The stimulus of tickling produced a range of sounds from the pleasurable to the painful. The interactor engaging the sound sculptures may feel simultaneously delighted by the overheard laughter and somewhat guilty for listening-in with voyeuristic pleasure to such an intimate exchange.

Zaum / Sound; 25 Kb WAV ||| AU
Mariah Calagione, CBS television;
1.3 MB QuickTime Movie
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