speech sculpture

(Ed: This one starts out humdrum, but becomes fascinating.)

I’m on a country property with a large house and many other large outbuildings. There are many tradespeople working around the property. I enter the house to use the toilet. As I stand at the toilet I realise that raining down from the leaky bathroom ceiling are large quantities of urine. I leave the room, drenched.

Outside, I find a tradie who assures me that he’s aware of the problem and is working on it. I experience a feeling of guilt.

Meanwhile, I discover that a huge downpour of rain has flooded the property. I make my way to a small wooden outbuilding on stilts, where a small group of people have gathered.

A rudementary laboratory has been set up, and a remarkable discovery has been made. A woman in the group has validated a suspicion she has long held. The idea goes that some person, entity, or business – some sinister actor – has a developed a technology that manipulates people’s speech by speeding it up. From our own perspective everything seems normal, but in fact we are only partially hearing what we ourselves or anyone else is saying. It’s as if our speech has been squeezed into a tighter frame, and fragments of it have become inaudible in the process.

To prove this is occurring, the woman has developed her own technology. The device is not in the room, but she can access it via telephony. She has a tape recorder with a counter indicating four minutes of audio, which she presently rewinds. As she plays it back, by way of this remote device, the audio is extended, with all sorts of previously inaudible content.

What comes next is more remarkable still. We have been brought to a new place. The room is designed in the way a futuristic hospital might be depicted in a film – everything is sterile but serene, rounded features, plain colours but still an aesthetically pleasing level of contrast. Standing before us is the man who has created this speech-compressing technology, for reasons, as it happens, of benevolence.

Another man speaks to us. He is an everyday person like ourselves. He explains that the technology is a kind of treatment, personalised to every individual, that is administered somehow under the surface of our awareness. He wheels out a white metal frame, like a hotel trolley, from which hangs a very unusual structure. Mostly metallic, but with various outer components. A kind of awkwardly-shaped sculpture, in effect. The man explains that this object is an instantiation of a portion of his soul – let’s say, all the remorse he feels – which has been fashioned by way of this speech treatment. He points out minor details of the sculpture, such as some baubles which he notes really do look authentic to that part of his soul which has been captured.

He is very grateful and humble. He tells us that we may have our own sculptures revealed if we wish. He wheels the trolley away and parks it alongside that of another person.

It becomes apparent that the technology is not entirely outside our control. That we can actively employ it to process both negative and positive aspects of ourselves, and there are others in the world who know of this. This new information helps to explain certain phenomena that have previously perplexed me, and introduces grand new possibilities for my world. The possibility of a new narrative.