text written and performed by sára iványi, balafon composed and performed by the name D is Invalid ~ commissioned by spiralFM for TNP radio, 2024


A spiral is like the bastard child of a straight line and a circle. It is a curved line created by a point that travels in a circular pattern, bound to orbit its point of origin without ever returning to it.
There is something cursed about it. Where the straight line is adventurous in its determination of moving forward in potentially any direction, and the circle is mystical in not having a beginning or an end, spirals have a whimsical aimlessness operating on a surplus of drive and a lack of destination. It is also a way to fit a lot into a small space.
Looking at the analogue wall clock hanging in the rec room of ward 81 - the women's security ward of the Oregon State Mental Institution in a 1979 photograph by Mary Ellen Mark - with patients dancing underneath it, I don't see a flat circle of increments that represent a measured out cycle of duration that starts over at the same point every twenty-four hours. I see an invisible spiral uncoiling an expanding past, gathering riches in a bottomless pit of memory continuously sliced from an uncalibrated future or 'thereness'.
Music sits atop this unfolding scene like weather. It is an agent of time that resists measuring it. The way we move affects what we think and how we feel and music can change how we move from the inside out. The music we listen to is like a clock we choose to feel time rather than keep it. Just turning our bodies to the right makes us feel different than turning to the left.
I wonder whether the experience of being is a form of anti~time because when we think about death there is nothing but time. The body as a temporary medium to experience it is gone and time becomes crushingly endless. In time then, music and death are opposites, bound together like the points at either end of a spiral.