Conceptualizing the Heart Sound-Scape : An Artist’s Personal Musings

I have just sat, with a stethoscope’s ear tips in my ears, holding the tunable diaphragm (contact) to my breast, listening to my heartbeat. It was like listening to my thoughts after being out all day, at first scattered and fast. But unlike my thoughts, which can only happen one at a time, many sounds were registering all at once: my breathing, bubbles of digestion, adjustments to my posture, the uneven pressure of my finger holding it in place, the sliding of the tube against my shirt.

As my desires, digestion and thoughts calmed, so did my heartbeat. Or read that in reverse. Things got quiet. As auditory disturbances cleared away, I was becoming intimate with my interior space, and it became vast.

Listening to the heartbeat is such an intimate affair. ‘Intimacy’ evokes something precious, private, a generosity with ones gaze, attention and time. So I tend to think of intimacy as something small. Indeed, intimate spaces are rarely described as vast or expansive.

Actually listening to the beating of the heart though, for a long time, uninterrupted, is at once grounding and a ride into a vast interior.

Perhaps we will begin amplifying a single heart beat, because it’s what most of us have directly experienced the most. Then we’ll add another, referencing our earliest shared experience of being immersed for 9 months in the sound of our mothers’ and our own.

Then we enter into new territory by adding another (except for twins & the like).

We will add another. And another. And another. And another.