Invasive Being

Invasive Being
Invasive Being is an investigation of sonic invasivity. It focuses itself on the disruption of my family and household’s sonic profiles due to my return home. It views my existence in what was once my native habitat as something invasive and uncomfortable, hyperbolized from my point of view and made communal.
  • 08:00; one of twelve hour long recordings from a day in my perspective and proximity. 00:00

For my final project I want to continue to investigate my original concept of invasivity, particularity of the relationship of invasivity between myself and my surroundings. Back in Providence this manifested most concentrated in my research site: a set of benches accompanied with signs about invasive plants positioned between the Woonasquatucket river and the Paul Cuffee elementary school. This location made me acutely aware of my own invasivity as a student relocated from the opposite coast of the country, as an adult among children, as a researcher analyzing the mundane and lived space. Upon returning “home” to where I have lived most of my life, instead of returning to a feeling of nativity I still feel invasive, perhaps even more so as I notice my sonic life interfering and overlapping with the new sonic profile of my house which has adjusted to my absence. I wish to more physically manifest the incidents of noise disturbance I am now causing in this home and also the sonic events which take place which I now view as invasive, although they are not necessarily considered so by my other family members.

In attempting to understand existence many have aimed to create special equations for the beginning of the world’s other complete fullness, and in between the most elegant or perfect understanding. But what is more likely is that we exist within a generic reality (crummy, normal, complicated, mediocre, infinite, incomplete mess) and thus there is no further explanation of it (Holt). Our existence is relational and we know we exist for a few reasons: (1) we believe we do, (2) we witness the existence of others, (3) others validate and interact with our own existence (Solheim).

These interactions of existence from a scientific standpoint are evident in the effects of invasive species. That which is invasive are not harmful due to their innate state of existence and being, but to the location and environment where they happen to exist (Klos). Thus a natural (correct) state of being must exist in order for something to invade and be invasive . Displacement and minority are key aspects in becoming invasive; there is an aspect of naturalization, acclimation, and assimilation which determines what is the norm and how things change in identity from natural and invasive due to belief (similar to the validation of our own existence) (Chakraborty, Stallings). In my example, the ecosystem which is being invaded is that of my own home which has adjusted to my absence. A statue taken out of a garden will be replaced by weeds which cover and fill the space once occupied by the statue. If one wishes to put the statue back in what was once it’s native location, weeds must be either pulled or squashed. Sonically, this is the same.

In order to materialize this experience I wanted to bring my feelings of invasiveness and my hyper-awareness of the noises I was causing and disrupting to the forefront of my family’s experience (more so than they observe daily). The first step of this process was to capture my noise. I did this using a recorder on my phone, capturing 12 hours of audio divided into hour long recordings. These recordings would then be played back and amplified into the communal space of my home, the living room on the first floor attached easily to the dining room and kitchen, hubs of activity. I would then livestream this closed home broadcast via Zoom, attempting (key word: attempting) to capture my family's reaction and discomfort to this more direct sonic invasion.

Additionally I wished to create an artifact of this investigation and thus created a CD box set of sorts. Included in this package were the thesis of my project (much of which is shared with you in the above writing), 12 CDs containing the audio of my day, a reflection on my existence within memory and home, fabricated digital memory postcards (made using Google Earth and Photoshop), and an artist profile card with alternate profile pictures. The packaging of these was made from plastic office goods found in my home and cyanotypes printed using flowers from our garden. What I present to you in video form is an unboxing of this package and a compilation of videos from the Zoom livestream.


“Dear Beloved” by Sumita Chakraborty

“Sestina: Like” by A.E. Stallings

“Existence One Thursday” by James Solheim

Ted Talk “The Threat of Invasive Species” Jennifer Klos

Ted Talk “Why Does the Universe Exist?” Jim Holt

  • 00:00
This project created varying levels of discomfort among my family members. My brother, being who he is, did not mind or notice. My mother, although in favor of it for the sake of its underlying meaning, became uncomfortable in the way she became hyper aware of her own voice and commentary from an outside perspective. My father, although seemingly unperturbed by the audio, was completely uncomfortable with the video documentation and can be seen moving his chair and refusing to speak in order to not be a part of it. This has made me aware of how not only my existence as an individual, but also my existence as an artist in particular can become burdensome and invasive of personal privacy. I was taken aback also by my own discomfort and cringe to hearing the recordings again, thinking that by now I would be desensitized to them. Looking forward at the next three (and possibly more) months I think this project has helped me in a practical sense to envision my role within the household and