To the Threshold

By Arielle Swartz, Carly, Evan Hanec, SImone Rodger and Ciara Rose

This project solicits attention to the nature of feedback loops by dramatizing, sonically, the many dimensions of feedback loops and thresholds. Injuries are never one-dimensional.  And rebuttals to injury are also not one-dimensional. Expanding the boundaries of the threshold requires encountering its limit and applying pressure on all sides.  In this audio essay, you’ll encounter a range of sonic feedback loops, including the interplay between voices and listening, events and their echoes, violence and rebuttals.


Throughout the semester we discussed injuries and rebuttals. We chose to create a clear discrepancy between hearing and listening in order to address how we handle injuries and rebuttals. Listening can involve learning from injury; listening to and responding to rebuttals has the capacity to transform the individual and the environment in which an injury exists.

In this audio essay, we open and close with a “wall of sound”: indistinct and indiscernible sounds, falling over one another while competing to be at the forefront of the audible. This was our attempt at creatively illustrating the feedback loops we encounter in daily life; the entire podcast is also a salute to feedback loops, as we begin and close the podcast in the same way. We decided to use this sound design to agitate the listener enough to create some disquiet– to try and curtail “knowing in advance.” Often, podcasts follow a familiar beginning, middle and end narrative, one that is comfortable and well-known to listeners. It’s more difficult to examine threshold boundaries in a space of comfort and already-knowing.

Suggested resources

Claudia Rankine, Citizen, Graywolf Press, 2014.

Nina Sun Eidsheim, “Music as a Vibrational Practice,”Sensing Sound: Singing and Listening as Vibrational Practices. Duke University Press, 2015.

Claudia Ranking reading Citizen at the 92nd Street Y

Thank you 

Thank you to Ada and group members.

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