Speech Acts

Speech Acts

A bound and gagged voice asks three questions about the loss of language; the nosy neighbor of Echo and Narcissus offers her opinions about the doomed pair; and a couple remembers their first year of marriage when one of them practiced complete monastic silence.

Five pieces comprise the series; they can be presented individually or in pairs or as a whole series.

The entire series was commissioned for Outer Ear at Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago, in 2000. Silence, in particular, has been broadcast, presented online or in festivals nearly a dozen times.


An intentional weaving of two voices, a shared story that braids an impressionist documentary about a couple whose first year of marriage is remembered for its challenges. One of them was practicing to become a monk—a silent, monastic retreat and evolution into a coupling of silence and voicing.

The Curious Ear
RTé-Ireland – 2010 (remix)

The Night Air
ABC-Australia – 2010; 2002

The Messages ShowRe:sound #88
Third Coast Audio Festival – 2008

Technical Breakdown, The AUX Group/Forum for Sound Art
listening posts, Copenhagen – 2005

The Remedial Silence ShowRe:sound #5
Third Coast Audio Festival – 2004

Radiolab – WNYC-FM – 2002 (remix)

Unknown CountryResonanceFM – UK – 2002

The Next Big Thing – WNYC-FM, New York -2001

Third Coast Audio Festival
online feature – 2001

Digital Thaw film festival
Institute for Cinema & Culture, University of Iowa – 2001


Bound, Gagged and Stutter
Radio artistry that resembles snapshots: a voice is bound and gagged and stutters questions about the nature of language.

“Audiophile: Joan Schuman,” Public Radio Remix at PRX
curated hour of nine pieces, posted by Emily Corwin, Jan. 12, 2011

d>art01 – dlux media arts festival, annual showcase of experimental digital film, digital video, computer animation and cd-rom art
Alchemy Radio, Paddington, Australia – 2001

Outer Ear Festival of Sound
Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago
project commission, inaugural festival – 2000

art @ radio – online streaming – 2001

Freeform Afternoon, KUNM-FM, Albuquerque, NM – 2001

The Radio Chronicles, KPFA-FM, Berkeley, CA – 2000


The imagined voice of Echo’s nosy neighbor as she listens to the repetitions of her disappearing nymph-friend and her concerns about her increasing (and deleterious) involvement with a beautiful boy.