Horrorland, Light on the Hill (audio chapters)


(Beast by Helena Krobath 2015; ink & gesso on wood)

I’ve been working sporadically on the main piece, Horrorland: Light on the Hill for several years; it consists of written vignettes and crossing stories, fables and visual images, diorama scenes, stage and costume, voice work, and vulnerability. Recently, I’ve added electroacoustic chapters developed in sound classes at Simon Fraser University.

The structure of this non-fictional fiction piece is loose and cross-tethered: it is an imaginary realm with sketches pinned to its walls and wind chimes hanging from the arches. I have found my own trauma to be cubist; it flickers and defies me, constructing itself from all angles–especially imaginary ones.

Sounds echo differently here. Stories mean multiple things, but the meanings keep shifting. It’s hard to trust my surroundings. I startle, I embody hysteria, I hide. Monsters emerge from my pen, my microphone, and my imagination, yet they always spill out as stories.

The trigger is a ghost, a constellation of the past through which my instincts configure the present. Traces and trajectories remain entangled in the world while I chase their tails. I reflect on them and disentangle, but they ghost on.

These two audio projects (Tooth and Claw and Oh My Mother) sought to express a mental condition and way of perceiving through story and sound. The idea of animating aspects of the memoir sonically came about directly as a result of sound studies classes in which I was amazed by what I heard as the power of sound to communicate states of mind through non-verbal imagery. I could also learn about the world and my own experience by noticing the role of sound.

Although I’ve been comfortable working with text and voice, I also wanted to process my collected and found sounds to suggest a material and mental space. When I come back to it next, I’ll take this project further from text-based narrative, and experiment with more sonic storytelling techniques. The story itself is unfinished (waiting for me to meet it from a new place).