Echo’s Bones/Were Turned to Stone, 2020
In Echo’s Bones/Were Turned to Stone you lie with headphones on a hand-knotted wool rug designed by Ana Torfs. You hear a female character who appears to be ordering her thoughts through an anaphoric chain of endless associations: anecdotes about the life and death of artists, authors, actors, singers, film directors and composers who are dear to her, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Bresson, Lucia Joyce, Alexandre Dumas, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Marguerite Duras, Samuel Beckett, Berthe Morisot, Erik Satie, Delphine Seyrig, Ovid, Mary Wollstonecraft, Isamu Noguchi, Lina Bo Bardi, Honoré de Balzac, Hilma af Klint, Edgar Allan Poe, Billie Holiday, and numerous others.
These countless, often ghostly enumerations alternate with sighs and groans, which then turn into factual descriptions of the functioning of the human body or the condition of the planet. Seemingly unconnected stories begin to form patterns. As long as she speaks, she exists.
This work is inspired by Torfs’ deep interest in the process of reading and writing. In Greek mythology, as related in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Echo is a loquacious mountain nymph. She offends the goddess Juno by keeping her in conversation, so preventing her from spying on her husband Jupiter’s lovers. Juno punishes Echo by depriving her of speech, so that she can only repeat what others say. Lonely and abandoned, she dies in a cave. Her bones turn to stone, but her voice lives on and doubles every sound.
Hand-knotted rug, wool and bamboo silk, 90 x 270 cm; sound piece, English spoken,
headphones, 210’, loop
Voice: Caroline Daish