Joshua Le Gallienne

In 1859, naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace coined the term ecotone to describe transitional areas where different ecological communities meet. Known for their richness of biodiversity, ecotones are often among the first environments to exhibit responses to climate change. Wallace considered these zones as points of tension, naming them after the Greek word for stress (tonos). Incidentally, the word tone, used to describe the characteristics of sound, has its origins in the same place.

For Sound Diaries, I am interested in drawing parallels between the ecotone and the non-binary trans body, examining both as potential sites of listening. I have identified points of contact between the properties of the ecotone and my experience of gender as a non-binary trans person. I have found that my body and ‘nature’ are often contested due to tensions between what is felt internally and how I am met by the world. Like trans bodies, the boundaries of the ecotone are not always clearly defined or fixed, they are transitional and often display non-linearity in their development.

My project will focus on the sounds encountered in ecotone biomes of North East England. I will conduct fieldwork on the tidal islands of Lindisfarne and St. Mary’s Island on the Northumberland coastline. I will document my experiences through short, poetic texts. I am interested in using text as a means to explore the representation and documentation of sound outside of the realms of phonography. My texts will consider the implications of the language that is used when talking about sound and listening practices, re-appraising the legacies of our sonic vernacular, much of which was borrowed directly from militaristic and hunting contexts.

Joshua Le Gallienne (b.1985) is a non-binary British artist whose work explores the material qualities of sound. Through sculpture, installation, and performance, the artist stages intimate experiences that explore the relationships between sound, physical materials and environmental phenomena. Their work attempts to challenge expectations of what sound is, how it is experienced, and examine the methods and politics of its production. Since 2006, Joshua’s work has been regularly exhibited and presented in the UK and internationally; operating primarily outside of a traditional gallery context. Their work is unmediated and mostly undocumented in order to place emphasis on experiencing sound in the present moment. In line with this the artist has no website or online presence.

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