A Dermalian Speaks

Each of us often falls back on our “basic training” – math, grammar, exercises we learned in gym class – to help us solve problems. As a sculptor, I studied anatomy and kinesiology; and as an actor, my basic training included a lot of voice training that helped me think about just how a creature, whose anatomy and physiology I based on skates and cephalopods, could vocalize human language.

” … The production of speech is a highly complex motor task that involves approximately 100 orofacial, laryngeal, pharyngeal, and respiratory muscles. Precise and expeditious timing of these muscles is essential for the production of temporally complex speech sounds, which are characterized by transitions as short as 10 ms between frequency bands and an average speaking rate of approximately 15 sounds per second. Speech production requires airflow from the lungs (respiration) to be phonated through the vocal folds of the larynx (phonation) and resonated in the vocal cavities shaped by the jaw, soft palate, lips, tongue and other articulators (articulation). … ” Wikipedia.

Simply stated, speech requires vigorous muscular action and air. As I imagined how a flat, muscular creature could emit sound, I visualized the Dermalian body pulling itself into a shape that 1) could trap air underneath itself and 2) use its muscularity to push the air out, emitting sound and 3) create specific sounds and variety in pitch by controlling the fine movements of individual muscles and muscle groups.

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A Mile in Extrovert Shoes

For the past year I have put a lot of emotional energy into trying to understand why the majority of people on the extrovert – introvert spectrum need validation from each other like they need oxygen. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the more extroverted a person it’s ridiculous to tell them that “it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks,” because of course it does to them.

I started this mile in the shoes of an extrovert after the 2016 election when almost all of my friends and regular contacts were up in arms, fighting with each other, each other’s relatives and friends, their own relatives and friends, and strangers as well. I couldn’t understand why all the rhetoric and anger around having a madman in the White House was causing so much estrangement. And I cut myself off from people to stay out of the fray. From my point of view, once the horrible thing happens, it is what it is and you make choices and actions based on that reality and not based on how you wish it were.

It’s easy for me as an introvert to think that way because since I likely am not going to assert myself into leading society into rebellion, I am also likely to believe nobody would listen to me anyway. However, that last seemed not to be true in the wake of the new presidency. It was a “for us or against us” type of situation in many constantly angry people’s minds. I even felt like because I refused to participate in all of the unbridled rage, some of my white liberal friends (particularly and surprisingly, white men) treated me like I, a black woman who statistically am the sh*t of society, am the face of the great white father enemy (any of the patriarchal ilk who have lived off the fat of the land are equally sociopathic, bloated and grotesque as dead fish – take your pick), and it’s all my fault as much as it is the patriarchy, their martinets, and all the bubbas and skinheads. I have been slapped in the face by that attitude numerous times. It’s been shocking and infuriating.

I am a person who probably could go off by myself in the desert and be happy as a scorpion. But since my paradise is inside me because I’ve cultivated it all my life (which admittedly is not as difficult for an introvert), I don’t need to go off by myself to the desert.

But if I was going to stick around and try to maintain some of my relationships in jeopardy, I have needed to try to understand why it matters so much to more extroverted people what other people think; and why “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” ain’t so.

So I have spent the last year trying to understand why it ain’t so. I am now a kinder, gentler introvert who wouldn’t be an extrovert for all the laurels at Cannes but who won’t be mean to you for being an extrovert mad at the world.

#sylviatoyindustries #Election2016 #politics #neoliberalism #introvert #extroverts #frenemies #friends #empathy

VOICE by Sylvia Toy

VOICE was an official selection of Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival, 2017, and received an Honorable Mention from LA Underground Film Forum in 2016. VOICE was part of the “Stimmen” exhibition at schau.Räume (Austria) in 2018.

Since 2015, VOICE festival cuttings have screened in venues and festivals around the world – London, Marrakech, Berlin, Barcelona, Milan – including VisualContainer TV, HearteartH Project, International Video Art Exchange Program, and CM Projects’ Chemcraft Exhibit. Most recently (2017), VOICE FESTIVAL CUTTING 3 was selected by Underground FilmFest and Black Underground FilmFest, and given an Honorable Mention nod by Experimental Film Forum (Los Angeles).

#greenscreen #sylviatoy #handmadefilm #experimentalfilm  #Officialselection #bipolar