Internal Broadcast – In Conversation

Internal Broadcast is a new commission on SPUR”s Landing Site gallery by Sophie Alda & Ximena Alarcon.

The artists, in conversation with each other, exploring the works and their practices alongside the collaborative restructure of their upcoming installation.



Sophie meet Ximena

Ximena meet Sophie

We all decided it was a good idea to speak together about the work for the online gallery, placing the illustration and sound work together.

I’m looking forward to it and hope you both are. If we just remember to press ‘reply all’ then we should keep everyone in the conversation.




Hi Sophie,

Nice to meet you.

Please let me know about your ideas. How would you like to work?



Dr Ximena Alarcón

Research Fellow

Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice – CRiSAP

London College of Communication

University of the Arts London



Sophie Alda

21 Feb (7 days ago)
to Ximena, me

So, Ximena, nice to meet you! Sorry everybody for being slow on the uptake here, I’ve had full cotton wool brain this week.


Now, if I’m correct our two sets of work were contributions to SPUR’s residency at Tate in January as part of the Radio City project: Yours as a piece to be broadcast amongst other readings through the gallery radio system, and mine as a visual response to the project.


Your piece to me seems to be a breaking up of and recontextulization of a familiar pattern of syllables (one with some degree of individual weight through memory in English speakers) presented out of order and repetitively to create an evocative soundscape verging on the hypnotic.

The presentation of this through a multi space and multi speaker broadcast system seems particularly effective as it echoes the broken up nature of the sound but also facilitates the intimate consumption of it: it is up to the consumer to decide how near or far they are from the the sound and how much attention they pay to it, their experience changing as they move through the space in which it is being broadcast.

This seems relevant in the gallery space as relayed through the gallery radio system, but also in the browser space which is almost always accessed intentionally and with autonomy. The work can be experienced by any number of people broken up between places and although their individual experiences can still be intercepted by those nearby they retain a sense of real intimacy.


My images were created as a response to ideas of relay of sound and message through radio, however their primary function is explanation. I use repetition of shape to denote this individual repeated experience where I cannot repeat in sensation.

If the two sets of works are presented together with the intention that they will communicate, which of course two sets of works presented together always will, I feel the nature of sound, so personal and individually evocative, provokes what my work cannot, visual work, especially that which is intended to describe, being so much more objective.


Are my presumptions correct and do you have any thoughts on the combination of work or of the premise?



Ximena Alarcon

22 Feb (6 days ago)
to Sophie, me

Hi Sophie!


Your description of my works leaves me speechless, thank you. It is really evocative to imagine the broadcasting in a multi space and multi speaker system, and how the piece with its syllables escapes also from my (or anyone else’s) controlling desire, or the need of projecting exactitude of origins within the fragmentation. Thanks for perceiving the intimacy, which invites subtle listening.


I think your work is very evocative, and needs some time for contemplation and attention, as when the viewer is trying to find how patterns are broken in the repetition.


Two main ideas are triggered by your image in relation to my piece:

  1. Interference on the repetition, so one image is never equal to the other.
  2. Gestures of listening and speaking: as if she was speaking with her hands, the words that cannot say interactively with the technical functioning of a walkie talkie device, which needs to be moved for listening and for speaking.


  1. The little and subtle traces of modification are shaped by interference of someone’s pictorial gesture on top (as if it was another’s voice) that masks the literal description of what is happening. There are eyes that appear as part of the interference and which evokes to me ‘eavesdropping’ which increases its intensity when the interference (the ‘silent?’ voice) cannot hear the other source of the conversation.
  2. The gesture of the hands as if they were trying to make sense or react bodily to the sound heard, reinforces what is being said from somewhere else near by. Also one ear is kept free for maintaining awareness of the surroundings, which may or not influence her listening and (if happens) speech. Her repetitive image has beautiful tiny variations, that make the viewer fly with imagination and wonder, thanks to the interference.


As a connection I find interesting that the realisation of my piece is in an intimate room, for no one to hear what I need to say to myself. I wear headphones, covering my two ears to avoid interferences. It is only the moment when my piece is packed, sent and broadcast, that becomes public and not influenceable from the source to be modified. I feel your illustration is about the present time. I find my piece as a past experience that lives when unpacked. I wonder how the same piece would have taken place in real-time in the presence of the listener. How my listening practice could maintain intimacy with the awareness of the simultaneous listener.


My sonic gestures are triggered by the immediate and modified playback I am making with my own voice, e.g. managing delay. My listening is situated in many dimensions at once. My voice acts as my own interference, to my repetitions. And my hands too, as they are controlling the parameters of the repetitions.


Both, your images and my piece, I think they are playful. The woman in your image and my voice, they know about interferences and continue their repetition without necessarily conflicting with them, but accepting their presence in the visual and sonic game.


Do these ideas resonate with you?


Hello again everybody,

Thanks so much for your response Ximena,


I am particularly taken by the idea that your work is a past experience that lives when it becomes unpacked.

Recorded sound is of course linear at the point of consumption (if not at production) and I especially like the way your work plays out a broken up constructed past, simultaneously definite and indefinite.

But you are right, at completion a digital image is fixed firmly in the present. Its content is fixed (unless it is tampered with) although its narrative is interpreted through whatever context the viewer happens to bring to it, and I particularly like the way this can be so immediately influenced by the introduction of sound.


I’m also taken by what you say about the other reflections between the works: the physicality involved in the process of making your work, the motions you make to control the recording echoing the motion in the image, but especially apt I think is your closing statement concerning playfulness.

Both syllable and shape echo and repeat themselves with variation forming a distinct whole and this jumping playfulness seems as if it could transfer itself back and forth between the two, and shows how two works made independently with shared parts of intent really can speak to and between each other, complimenting and adding to each other and themselves in the small but engrossing context of the browser window. I am looking forward very much to seeing them together!


Sophie Alda

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