Book of Layers

Chapter Four: Did She Sing?

The Book of Layers: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. Chapter Four: Did She Sing?  2012.  Each panel, 18" x 41"; 6 panels total. Archival inkjet print of 2012 photo by Bliss; text from Bliss' June 8, 2012 journal entry; archival inkjet print of 1927 photo by ethnomusicologist Ole Mork Sandvik bagged with found sheep teeth, moss, and creeping vine; composed sound from field recordings and interviews with residents of Ballinskelligs, County Kerry, Ireland.

Click here to listen to audio


Transcript of audio recording:

Sound of birds singing (continues throughout audio)

Male Irish voice #2: Well, I don’t think it will become abandoned.  But, like, you see, there’s no doubt about it; it’s a fact of life and it’s showing up in the census: the population is declining, and declining rapidly.  What you have here now is an awful lot of bachelors.

Female American voice:  Really?  What happened to all the women?

…….pause – only audible sound is birds singing……….

Male Irish voice #3:  I know it’s the Irish for “a song”.  “Canagh” is “singing,” anyway.  "Make me a canagh."  I can go out singing.

Female American voice:  Make me a canagh…

Male Irish voice #3:  What were they singing about?

Female American voice:  A couple songs.  Ummmm….Lillian sang.  A very beautiful song.

Male Irish voice #3:  Irish?

Female American voice:  Ah, I don’t know what it was.

Male Irish voice #2:  Who sang it?

Female American voice: Lillian

Male Irish voice #2:  (mumbling) Hmm… Who’s that?

Female American voice:  Lillian.  She’s Irish.

Male Irish voice #2:  Oh yah…

Female American voice:  Dominic’s wife.

Male Irish voice #2:  Did she sing?

(fades to birds singing)


Text on panel reads:

June 8.  Morning.  Sitting at the stone table on the south side of my cottage.

On the hillside, grasses and wind make love.  Silky fronds offer themselves purely and without resistance, opening fully to the coming-through.  Still retaining their own strength and identity, rooted sure and solid in the earth.  This rootedness makes possible their dance with Wind.  Without it, they’d have nothing to offer, no truth of their own, nothing of their own substance or energy to bring to the bed.  With it, they engage without fear, joyful abandon within security.