On Deep Breaths and Friends Forever: Im/materiality and Mis/communication in Happy Angels Revisited

By | 1 February 2019

It starts with a beautiful day in the sea, so full of souls, and it will be forever.
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Things I want to tell you about:
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the sun’s rays, my teacher, things that are woolly to touch, body organs and elastic forms,
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all happening in the world, with nowhere else to go.
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Happy Angels Revisited (2018) is my audio adaptation of the children’s book Very Happy Angel Visit (2016) by Hela Trol Pis (Max Trevor Thomas-Edmond) and Hulugold (Chris Peckham). Released through Hela’s publishing project 5everdankly, the print version combines Hela × Hulu’s experimental writing and drawing practices to produce magical milk-glass pictograms through the story of a shape-shifting angel and her friends. In this gentle reading-recording, Happy Angels Revisited considers the sonicities of body/-language through some of the book’s key themes of desire, religion, holograms, fuzziness, and friendships.

Taking cues from the Call and Response, an interactive polyvocal model used in antiphonal music traditions such as gospels, hymns, and sea shanties, where audiences respond to the ‘call(s)’ of a speaker, Happy Angels Revisited pursues a modality of swaying. Moving through and in excess of the sonic and the poetic, the polychoral and the literary, the you and the me (without recourse to a binaristic split between self and other), this is an invocation into the voice’s capacity to displace and disperse itself into multiple literary and aesthetic traditions, as a way of gauging encounters, affects, and relationships. Ythm, an audio journal of contemporary poetry, exemplifies this Call and Response structure in its first issue; Fred Moten’s Reneo’s Open House calls, and four poets respond; invoking a practice of beckoning and attuned listening, a practice of linkage – just like linking arms, like a chain, like a bead bracelet, like a friendship bracelet, a circle loop that means friends forever. The journal itself is auspiciously presented in a circular format – also what I imagine the shape of pores to be.

the sun needs you in it

Happy Angels Revisited is about slow and self-reflexive discharge. Through oral storytelling that moves between modes of address and subject, it is about identifying (without over-exerting) the things that happen in and around the body, and gently, slowly, leaking, expelling. I haven’t quite been able to commit to a name regarding Form but maybe the closest is something between a bedtime/wake-up time story, or a guided meditation; a type of relaxation therapy to facilitate the practice of breath and detachment from thought-induced congestion; easing the movement of worlds towards more renewable and sustainable flows of energy.

where do things go when they disappear? 

The angel learns, and plays
games in the world, so adorable,

I’m hiding from you cutely… 

:0

and then takes a giant nap after a big day of swimming, playing, and practising care.

Do you know how important rest is?

even the biggest angel needs a nap

You are the angel, but also the world, which goes in every time you breathe. 


<3 


that’s what breath is
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