Sonic Realism / Wave #3 ESSAYS December 2020

The Heart in Her Mouth

Ella Finer & Sheila Chukwulozie, Vibeke Mascini and Urok Shirhan

[1] Deborah Bird Rose, "Shimmer: When All You Love Is Being Trashed."
In Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene, edited by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Heather Anne Swanson, Elaine Gan and Nils Bubandt. Minneapolis: Minnesota Press, 2017.G51-G63, G61.

Excerpt from letter to Sheila Chukwulozie, Vibeke Mascini and Urok Shirhan from Ella Finer, on 6 October 2020.

With thanks to Tom Western for calling this practice, this form of study, one of deep affiliation.

It sounds an enchanted story to say each of you gave me something to weather this time, but you did. I find it in Deborah Bird Rose’s essay on Shimmer when she describes ‘the waves of ancestral power that shimmer and grab are also exactly the relationships that bring us forth and sustain us’. [1]

We have all met across distance and could say these are meetings in the waves, while in the cross-currents of electric cities with radios on, radiant sun, storm Alex at the window. With Wireless Fidelity as medium, and message.

How does a wave begin? With the wind on the water? A push in a crowd? A switch, a word, a look, a small breath in and out, an idea, a moment of abandon, a moment of care? These obscure and multitudinous beginnings—


The Heart in Her Mouth, a volume of three correlating essays, has many known and unknown beginnings. I met Sheila Chukwulozie, Vibeke Mascini and Urok Shirhan at the beginning of 2020 and now, as the year comes full circle, we have written towards its end days. Deep in wave study we have moved from a letter, through a collective phone call, to many modes of collaborative writing generated across distance. As I moved between Urok’s dedicated chat room, Vibeke’s live shared document and Sheila’s email correspondence I had the profound privilege of hearing the acoustic scale of the heart: a heart of more than one. It is from fast and deep affiliation, from the letter, from the call, and much more besides that these bodies of writing have developed as extensions of the bodies who wrote them, in kinship, in conversation. These are essays existing on their reciprocity, their cross-pollination, their speaking to, into, through and from each other. With the heart in her mouth, learning the beats of another.


Ella Finer, December 2020

Het Hart in haar Mond

Ella Finer & Vibeke Mascini

Alqalbu Fi Fammiha | القَلبُ في فمّها

Ella Finer & Urok Shirhan

Obi na’onu

Ella Finer & Sheila Chukwulozie


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