African Violet
Jo Thomas - 1997

Dedicated to a Political Prisoner

Vulnerable,
Yet strong
in the faith of humanity:

The cry of the yellow within.

I blossom, I die
Condemned for the right
To live:

The cry of the yellow within.

Confined to this cell
The body of many,
The mind of insanity:

The cry of the yellow? Creator of rights?

Nothingness
speaks out
To nothingness

Alison McNeil

I chose to base my work on the poem above, African Violet. With this work I intended to draw from the solitude and reflection portrayed in the poem, starting in a prison cell, expanding into the outside world and then returning to the cell.

The solitude is represented with silence and the starkness of the sounds. I interpreted reflection with nature and recordings of important political figures of this century. These people are Louis Farrakhan, John F Kennedy, Ian Paisley and Adolf Hitler. Whatever their political stance there is no denying that all these men spoke with incredible power and also with amazing musicality. I have tried to reflect these attributes by either using very little manipulation or interweaving my sounds within their voices.

As three of the recordings in this work are from an age where the phrase 'digital recording' did not exist I felt it would be an exciting challenge to go back to analogue techniques when developing my sound worlds. This proved to be a profitable and enriching experience.

Performances