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
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.