Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And......we're back.

Hello from the land of Sounding the Infra-ordinary!

After a bit of a hiatus during which I was busy taking care of some other business, I return with project news:

Firstly, the Conflux City collaborative soundwalk was fantastic fun and generated a whole mess of material to work with and think about. 

There are plans in the works to produce a work of some sort using this material and audio and video footage recorded by Cambra Moniz-Edwards and Ryan Scott.  Many thanks once again to everyone who participated on that balmy autumn afternoon!

My time in Australia was likewise very satisfying.  Along with traveling to a new continent—and hemisphere—and meeting some of the friendliest people imaginable, I participated in a few events as part of the Critical Animals creative research symposium at the This Is Not Art Festival in Newcastle.  One of the events that included “Sounding the Infra-ordinary” was a presentation of the project-in-process and the audience, wonderful moderator Aden, and co-presenters offered several intriguing suggestions for further developments that I anticipate exploring further as I now return to the project.

Far and away the most rewarding part of the entire trip, however, was the event “Biographical Bathing”-for which I composed a series of site-specific and trip-specific pieces to be read at the Canoe Pool.  This was a new way to engage with unfamiliar territory for me, and I really enjoyed the experience of wandering around Los Angeles, Sydney, and Newcastle listening to all sorts of familiar and unfamiliar sounds.  I encountered a heightened level of attending to my surroundings, to be sure, and it provided a platform for further experimentation--leading to the shortest piece yet and a strange diary of the jetlagged mind.  For the event itself, I read the documentation of six listening sessions intermixed with the incredible poet Lou Smith’s work.  In this way, we intended to compose a unique performative text combining both my observations as a complete outsider and her deeply intimate recollections of life growing up in Newcastle.   

We read it barefoot in the sand during the setting sun at the Canoe Pool on the opening night of the festival, and it worked out beautifully and I continue to be very grateful to have been asked to participate.

I (finally) posted a few examples of the writings that compose this project to the blog.  All of these pieces were read during this “Biographical Bathing” performance with Lou, and are listed here in the order that I used that evening.  The TINA festival is great fun and bursting with engaging conversations about what art is and what it can do and I am very pleased that I attended.  Consider this: where else could I have read Gertrude Stein’s Stanzas in Meditation aloud in a public park with a group of strangers for four hours?  Not too many places…

Now that I can resume work on the project, I will post more ephemera as it develops.  One upcoming event of note will be the next collaborative soundwalk, which will take place on February 20th in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  This one will be part of a program I am curating with Gabrielle Hearst and Maria Papadomanolaki called “Postcards from Gowanus.”  We are currently in the process of organizing several workshops to take place around the neighborhood that day, and it ought to be buzzing with creative energy.

Finally, I would like to assure this blog’s one follower (hey there!) that although universes are not ordinarily built in a day, I am working on it.  

Canoe Pool #1

September 30, 2009
Wednesday, around 4pm
Sunny, 70s, breezy
Canoe Pool
Newcastle Ocean Baths
Newcastle, Australia

The sea arrives in two distinct registers. In the deep foreground, it persists with the sort of omni-white noise for which it is known. The solid sound of unfathomable depths.

In the more immediate vicinity, the wave meet a broad, shallow rock shelf, cascading in and out of variously evanescent pools and channels.

Intermittently, I hear the dunking thud of a burst air pocket. Bass and aplomb.

To my left, inside the Canoe Pool itself, seagulls bicker. More and more of them descend upon the pool to wash off and flutter about. There seems to be a turf war.

I am having trouble identifying upon which sea vessel I have heard the fuzzed bass sound that seems to happen inside the interior of the wall upon which I sit.

“Bout to get a bit bubbly here soon.” A man and his son pass me as they walk the perimeter of the pool. He is concerned or friendly. Or both.

(Actually it’s only 3:30pm now.)

A tiny crab startled me, so I have relocated.

The father reassures me that they are “funny little creatures” and indicates where else he has seen them.

The sea is more distant now—mostly only the solid white noise of unfathomable depths. A frolicking family is closer at hand.

A dog trots by -- tags dangling and jangling.

Footsteps on sandy cement.
Loud adult voices speak to children.
Hushed adult voices speak to each other.

The seagulls are aloft once again, but still bicker.

There is a long, sustained splash in the pool, then another. Three boys are engaged in an aquatic version of skateboarding.

“Look at all the mice here.”

Children build sand hills reminiscent of the large dirt piles characteristic of Floridian subdivision construction. Only ant-sized.

Are there mice here?

“I’ve got awful knees. They’re shocking.”

Sea waves.
Water skateboard slide.

Doo-Doo: the sound of busy sand construction.

The breeze heads straight into my skull as it shift directions—momentarily muting al else.

A small plane flies overhead left to right with a loud bass rumble.

Kid coughs.

I become aware of the waves crashing further down, past the rock shelf.

Another plane flies higher and straight out to sea with a distant hummed whistle.

Seagull squawking upon return.

Board sliding.

Now, two voices to my left as well. A man and a woman with an umbrella who drink from golden goblets.

Running footsteps in shallow water.

A surfer jogs past behind me. His ankle bracelet thuds against the board with each sprightly step. The board sounds hollow—fiberglass.

Here we go – this way.

A toddler drags a sandaled foot across sandy cement in short, slow motions.

I have got a lot of sand.
I have got a lot of sand.

Pitter-patter in the water.

A far-away car, though I don’t know where the road is here.

Another plane is faintly heard, but not seen.

Wind in my left ear, but not my right.

I turn this page in protest to the wind that seems to want to keep it down where it was.

This page rustles.

Board is thrown down.
Feet run through water.
A thud.
Then a splash.

All the while, the sea keeps beating into these rocks and itself.

A chunk of pages fly up.

A single sneeze from the golden goblets.

Board thrown. Missed the rest.

A more tranquil seagull-scape. Has the dispute been resolved?

A crunching sound passing right to left behind me. I though a bike, but it was a stroller.

Metal beach chairs are folded up and an umbrella slid down a metal post. The golden goblets are leaving their post near the waters edge.

The seagulls protest.

Lapping water.
Solid sound.

The metal is tinny as it passes behind. Creaky, but not unpleasantly.

Board sliding.
Board sliding.
Lots of fast water steps—in pursuit.

Flip-flop footsteps shuffle across the sand cement, then sit near me. A language that is not mine emits from the men now on the bench. Then they continue to shuffle round the platform toward the empty Ocean Bath.

“EEE – WAA – HAA !” These sand hills are getting rather tall. Their builders are obviously pleased with the process.

The stroller is thudded down the four steps to the bench platform.

Nylon touches down on sand.

I almost hear the bass thud, but it has more treble.

Wind distorts my left ear as I write.

More splashing.
Flip flop shuffle.

A drags the ankle bracelet responsible for tethering him to his boogie board. “I want to put it right here.”

And so he does.

A distant scream.

“Attention, please…”—and a long recommendation. This comes from a powerful PA system, and is presumably a directive be a life guard. I have no clue what he has said except that he’d like someone’s attention, please.

A sneeze; seagull chirping; a sneeze.

“I will! As long as we can have a pesticide swim!”

Water streams out of a nearby shower faucet. I hear the water and air move in the pipes.

Children cackle from the far reaches of the pool. One emits a guttural exhale that makes me think the water might be cold.

These water skateboard kids are still at it.

A high-pitched children’s scream over nearer the ocean.

More splashing as a naked kid runs in circles in the shallowest part of the pool.

The boarders have stopped and now sit in the water soundlessly.

These sand kids have departed and appeared to have demolished this sand hill city.

Another surfer rushes past with panted breath.

Yo-Pa! Yo-Pa! Yo-----Pa!

Seagull chirping.
Waves crash.

A hand patting wet sand makes a clapping sound. Sand rendered prosthetic. Beats out an arrhythmic beat.

Distant seagulls.
A plane, or traffic.

Running in shallow water that scarcely covers your foot.

A father swings one kid—the naked one getting a sun burn—wildly in a circle. He squeals. Meanwhile, the mother urgently cautions another child: “Henry, be careful.”

The wind has picked up, and waves vociferously pound the distant rock wall on the far ahead and left side of the pool.

I will walk there.

El Segundo

September 25, 2009

Friday, around 1:00pm
Sunny (no hint of clouds) and around 80 degrees

Rode a Burning Man bike to the Whole Foods in El Segundo today,
and all I heard was the whiz of cars traveling here and there
and the crunch of a bike chain without a lick of grease on it.

Fort Tilden

September 7, 2009
Monday, Labor Day, around 3pm
Overcast skies and breezy, low 70s
Fort Tilden Beach
On the Atlantic Ocean
Queens, New York

The surf continuously crashes on the shore.

Though the waves at times sound large, making an audible clap as they crest and then make contact with the sea floor and shore, there is mostly a continuous hush of sound.

White noise.

In the far distance, a commercial jetliner flies overhead.

The murmur of a passing conversation and barely audible footsteps. Bare feet on soft sand.

Persistent wind fills my ear canal.

Another plane. The sound of its engines seems to reverberate off the arced dome of the earth, continuing to arrive in my ears from various angles though the plane travels in a straight line itself.

More ocean.

Seagulls send forth calls, which are often not returned.

Rustling of a seagull rummaging in dried plant matter. It picks it up in its beak and shakes is back and forth before setting it down and lazily pecking.

Empty aluminum beer cans are encased in a plastic bag attached to a man’s hip. As he walks slowly past me, the cans bump into each other, creating a sort of slow, somehow forlorn, tune.

End of summer.

A low-flying helicopter and an equally low-flying prop plane pass from left to right simultaneously.

Seagulls fighting. Constant exhale produces a call that demands.

Another prop plane—this one right to left.

A man calls out from within the roar of the sea. His words are not discernable.

I am increasingly aware of the sounds of my own documentation. Pencil on paper dragging left to right and down the length of the page. I brush off sand with my hand. If I don’t hold it down, this page will flap wildly in the breeze.

Beer shifting within its aluminum can as I take another sip, and wait.

The constancy of the ocean sound is unusually steady and unwavering for this city.

Seagull crows: “Ah, Ah.”

“Hey loner.” My friend Juan greets me as he passes right to left.

“Are you recording?” asks Adrienne.

I hear myself respond.

A plane behind me and to the right.

Though it is a loud—or relatively full—soundscape here, it seems peaceful and quiet. Meditative. Mostly this is due to the relative lack of man-made sound. Mother Nature seems to be able to appropriately design sonic environments that compliment physical landscapes in a manner that humans have not yet mastered.

The breeze blows the skirt of my white dress around, but it does not make a sound. It does, however, remain within my field of vision persistently as I look down to write.

There are not many people passing by at this point on the shore. Further to the left, on an earlier walk, I overheard many snippets of conversation. Heard the sounds of a football scrimmage, and the distorted rock music being brought forth by a cheap receiver airing a 500 best song countdown. They were in the top 60s.

But I can’t hear any of that from where I now sit.

Just the waves and the wind,
for the most part.

Velcro reluctantly releasing its grasp on itself as I procure my camera from its case.

A very distant plane nears.

My friends huddle at our beach perch a mere 50 feet away or so, but their voices do not carry.

Approaching footsteps of two people—a young man and woman. She is giggling profusely; then she says: “I can’t stop laughing.”

They pass behind me and stop. I hear their voices, but not the particularities of their words. His voice is quite deep, and hers projects.

They circle me and walk back the way from which they came.

I wait.

I close my eyes and sit back. The soundscape does not waver much at all.

Sandals passing on the sand.

A faraway plane engine with a round sound.

It seems almost impossible, but I hear three boat engines roaring off in the distance. Briefly.

The sound is eaten by the sea.

Taylore Square

September 29, 2009
Tuesday, around 6:00pm
Taylor Square
Oxford x Flinders x Bourke
Sydney, Australia

Sitting in an outdoor café whose name has something to do with Cuba.  Far from the Americas.

I’m not much for sightseeing.
I’m more of a rambler.

Having traveled to the other side of the planet, I spend most of most of my short time in Sydney haunting cafes and roaming drowsy neighborhoods. 

I take naps.

I like the morning best, though I don’t do much with it.  I lay in bed inside the top floor room I am occupying in a Victorian B&B.  Awake with a start at a quarter to 6, then languishing til 8.

I listen to the hushed white noise of Sydney waking at 5am from under the down comforter.

The thought crosses my mind that I ought to record this tranquil soundscape, cloaked as it is in my hazy consciousness. But I stubbornly refuse to get out of bed.  Instead, I compose prose in my head and swear I’ll remember it.

I don’t.

I doze.

The sound of a barking dog reawakes me with another start.  It sounds other-worldly.  It sounds other-side-of-the-worldly.  I recognize it as a dog after a moment’s pause and later discover a dog lives in this B&B.

Six hours after landing in Australia after fourteen hours of suspension, I hear a small bunch of bamboo creaking in the wind bursting off the harbour.  Two women photograph it.  I’d like to record this creaking, but there is an outdoor concert on at the moment.  I vow to return.

I have not yet.

I have, however, taken numerous photos of sunlight peeking through leaves and other sorts of botany renderings.  I am in love the flora of Sydney.

Somewhere—I don’t remember where—Sydney was described in strictly Californian terms: “Los Angeles without the attitude; San Francisco with better weather.”  But it reminds me of yet another Western American city.  A city in which I lived for 4 years.

…but with better weather.

Wandering, roaming, rambling—I feel quite at home on the move.

The key way that I know I have traveling 10,000 miles to be here is by listening to the various municipal tones which alert the citizens of Sydney that they now have the right of way to cross the street, that a police vehicle is traveling at a swift clip to some emergency or other, that the subway doors are closing, that an alarmed home has a door or window ajar.

In New York, everything is a car horn being laid upon.  Like it’s trying to compensate for something, while Sydney is quite satisfied with passing a leisurely morning under a sky inhabited by both sun and moon.

Under this surprisingly vast sky (which I profusely photograph), I continually see people who look like people I know from other cities and towns and countries and continents.

This always happens.

Though there is only a single person on this continent who could accurately place my face with my name—David the innkeeper—I am utterly startled every time.  It’s not that I really believe that anyone I know is here, yet I still become hyper-alert for a split-second—bereft of my bearings. 

Do these mis-sightings make my feel more or less alone?  I am wondering.  After a few blocks of walking, I decide that I am utterly ambivalent, and move on in my thoughts.

I must unlearn a lifetime of left-right-left in order to successfully cross the street.  No easy feat in my current state of mind, and it takes me a correspondingly long time to move to the other side.

I acquire medicine for an ailment I brought over from Brooklyn, and faithfully take vitamins to ward off new ones.

Sudden and exaggeratingly dire pangs on hunger beset me with no warning.  I am confused, and seek out the first seemingly suitable establishment.  In my dazed state, I am always overpaying for food.  I order more than I can eat.  Thankfully, I am not eating often.

It’s all I can do to stay awake til 8pm.  I wander the neighborhoods, admiring the lacy iron railings which adorn the facades of little houses cozily tucked-in to each other.  I feel conspicuous taking precisely the sort of photos that I favor in more familiar surroundings.

I keep checking the weather.

I sleep well past my alarm during an afternoon nap prior to my date with Mozart, and go to the opera with bedhead and sheet creases pressed into my exposed flesh. 

Following the performance, the prospect of waiting a half an hour for the bus is too much to bear, so I hire a cab.  The driver declares that I “look like” the neighborhood I have requested, which seems to confirm my knack for research.  I already know this about myself.

Awake again, 6am.

I am acutely aware of the banal psychosis that is jet lag.

Aboard the ferry to Manly, an American man sits next to me.  He narrates with an enthusiasm that seems boastful over video footage of the harbour that he captures on his cell phone.  His is the first American accent I’ve heard since Delta #17, and I find that I haven’t missed it.

He’s from Brooklyn.  This also always happens.

I receive text messages from a recent lover while at Manly Beach.  He’s stuck on a train with no electricity in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night in the middle of northern United States.  I am wandering in the afternoon sunlight searching for fish and chips.

I keep missing buses.  It is difficult to imagine conjuring the patience to wait 20 minutes for the next circuit.
But I do.

Aboard the 9:15 am train to Newcastle, I see Rebecca Solnit’s “blue of distance” across a deep valley.  I’d like to be in those mountains.

Precisely as I am stepping off the train at Civic Station, A nearby church’s bell indicates it is noon with the requisite resonant “thonnnnnnngs” one would expect.

Delta #17

September 26, 2009
3:57am (Australian time)
Sunday Morning
Delta #17
Over the Pacific Ocean, near the Solomon Islands
35,999 feet altitude


Constant woosh of ventilation system.

Light snoring.

Breakfast is being prepared in the galley way in front of me.

Microwave sounds and opening and closing cupboards.

Canoe Pool #2

October 1, 2009
Thursday, 7:20am
Bright morning sun, crisp yet warm air
Canoe Pool
Newcastle Ocean Baths
On the Pacific Ocean
Newcastle, NSW, Australia

I’ve nearly got the pool all to myself this morning.  The breeze is persistent but gentler than yesterday.

Waves tumble and splash all around me. The sound bounces off the rock wall behind where I sit, giving the impression of an island.

To my left, they are renovating the car park—which is I think a flowery, Australian way of saying parking lot.  These cars enjoy themselves at the park.

Beep-beep-beep of a backward-moving truck.  Muffler exhale.
Generator drone.

The seagulls are drowsy or have let bygones be bygones and possess a quiet sortof cheerfulness in their chirping.

Now I’ve got the Canoe Pool all to myself.

People pass on the footpath behind me occasionally.  I hear their sandy footsteps and hold my breath—hoping they don’t stop.

A backward-moving truck.  Bass rumble motor.  Muffler exhale.

To my right, a more distant construction site produces a dim huming drone.  Sounds like a cement mixer endlessly rolling and rolling and rolling on its truck bed. 

Hammering.  Knock knock knock knock.

The two construction sites improvise a bit.  Is this the song of progress?

To my right, they sound to be dealing with steel.

The two men who were earlier messing around with strange benches in the pool return to take them away.  I can’t tell what they are chatting about, but they don’t seem to mind shoving benches across the sand pool and then having to hoist them on their shoulders at this early hour.  They do, however, sound like these water-logged wooden benches are heavy.

Seagull crowing.

Car park hammering.

Generator drone changes pitch in an ever-so-slights upward register.

Hammer-Hammer (faintly).

The drone from the right side construction site tries to overpower the sea.  The sea almost languidly abides.  Seagulls refuse to be silenced.

Hammer – Hammer – Hammer – Hammer

I think that because the right construction site is at quite a higher elevation, its sound is reflecting more intensely off the earth’s dome, and I am not entirely convinced that this is an illusion.

Backward – Backward – Backward
Backward – Backward – Backward

This truck is traveling or slowly.  Definitely backwardly.

Loud ocean crash suddenly on the rocks.

The men return with a third, laughing.

Shuffled flip flops clear the curve and keep walking.  Other people pass soundlessly behind me.

The men are loudly shuffling through the shallow water.


They’ve made the third man carry away the last bench.  His flip flops clap with an intentionality I have not yet heard in all this time of documenting soundscapes.

Construction drone, though I’d rather focus on the oscillating ocean.

Chatting seagulls.

The two men struggle from near the big pool with a heavy piece of machinery—grunting and belaboredly  shuffling.  “Should have brought a skateboard.”  “Yeah, I was going to say that.”

Hammer – Hammer
Sandy footsteps.
Seagull crowing.

“Good morning,” sings a woman walking with a man wearing a sling and a scraggly little dog.  I reply: “Yes, beautiful.”  She says something about: “Wouldn’t be dead for quids, would-cha?” to which I somewhat confusedly respond “Nope.”

You couldn’t pay my to be dead?
            Certainly not at the moment.

The surf is gently rolling n now, its rhythm nearly matching a resting state of inhale-exhale such I am experiencing now.
            Couldn’t pay me.  I’m breathing with the sea this  morning.

A seagull sends forth a low craggle before expelling a higher chirp several times in a row.  Sounds like it’s being coy.

This truck is moving backward once more and emitting tiny bursting peeps before it does so.  Then a long exhale before the generator roars back into action.  Had been quiet over there for a bit, but no more.

The sea follows suit, and roars a bit louder as well.  Waves crashing on the outside wall of the canoe pool. 

A whistle.

I’ve arrived at the bottom of the last page of this notebook.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Conflux City

is almost here, folks!

Kindly meet us at the Temperance Fountain inside Tompkins Square Park (nearest entrance is Avenue A and E. 9th Street) at 2:00pm on Sunday, September 20, 2009 for a rambling listening party.

Conflux City Exercises, briefly.

For the collaborative "sound writing" event taking place as part of Conflux City, we will experiment with three different approaches to literarily documenting the East Village soundscape. Here's a sneak preview of some of the weird and wonderful things we will be doing. Hope to see you there!

Exercise #1: Focus your perception // Flat Listening
Pick a location within the park. Note the scene. Attempt to listen more closely and flatly. Describe what you hear - resist the urge to explain or analyze!

Exercise #2: Soundscape in motion // Rhythm of a dérive
Let your ears guide you. Slowly ramble through the neighborhood, attempting to stay in motion while noting what you hear. Detect the audible rhythms of the neighborhood as you move through it.

Exercise #3: Imaginative mode // Listening in reverie
Select a location for extended listening. Let your mind wander as you focus on listening, all the while noting down what you hear. Feel free to note anything stirred in your listening imagination (imagined sounds, remembered sounds, etc.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where I’m going

Sounding the Infra-ordinary is going places.

The first attempt at collaborative soundwalk documentation will take place on September 20, 2009 for ConfluxCity in NYC. The walk will begin in Tompkins Square Park and end at Washington Square Park. More details will be forthcoming shortly.

I will be listening to the Newcastle Ocean Baths and giving a site-specific reading there on October 1, 2009 as part of the This is Not Art Festival in Newcastle, Australia.

Also at This is Not Art, I will be giving a presentation on the overall project-in-progress on October 2, 2009.

Sounding the Infra-ordinary is a vagabond.


Hello, my name is Sounding the Infra-ordinary.

I have created this space to post thoughts about, documentation of, and event information for my new project “Sounding the Infra-ordinary: A Phonography of Everyday Life.”

Below, you will find the plan of the project, which initially stems from a desire to hone my listening and writing abilities while exploring how different modes of documentation affect our perceptions of the world. Also below is an excerpt from Georges Perec’s Species of Spaces and Other Pieces that I adapted for some of the preliminary listening exercises I have undertaken this summer.

Thus far, I have conducted several solitary soundwalks and experimented with a few modes of documentation. As I continue to conduct this research, I plan to begin posting some of the results here. The goal of this first stage of the project ultimately is to document both the development of my listening skills as well as the development of modes of written documentation inspired by Perec, among others.

For the next stage of the project, I will be organizing collaborative documented soundwalks that explore the personal/communal experience of listening to and within the everyday. I will be posting information about such events here, and sharing audio, visual, and literary documentation.

Yes, there will be a lot going on in this exploratory undertaking. This space will become a world unto its own.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Plan of the Project

Attesting to the acoustic environment’s essential role in the constitution of physical, social, and existential space, the art of phonography (“sound writing”) captures sound’s unique capacity to document the complex network of encounters that define our experience of the world. This experiential research project explores the ways that the mediation of sound fundamentally alters our relationship to the acoustic environment, and how acts of “sound writing”—considered here as both as audio field recordings and as experimental writing practices—may be used to develop an ethics of imaginative listening that reconsiders the sonic experience of everyday life.

This research is still in a very early stage of development. In this first stage of the project, I am attempting to literarily mediate the acoustic environment via short, plainly descriptive experimental writing practices inspired by Georges Perec’s series of practical writing exercises in the essay collection Species of Spaces and Other Pieces. Encompassing various approaches to chronicling the intimate and public spaces of his Parisian neighborhood, Perec utilized a combination of exhaustive, objective description and more personal reminiscences of the minutiae that compose everyday life, foregrounding the "infra-ordinary" as the material contexts through which existential life reveals itself. As Perec’s work emphasizes visual aspects of everyday environments and the complex network of relationships therein, he leaves the acoustic environment relatively unexplored. Thus, I am adapting his experimental writing models to the sonic experience by documenting a series of soundwalks in order to attempt to develop a literary equivalent to audio field recording that may be capable of tuning the reader’s ear to a form of clairaudience ("heightened listening") activated in the imagination.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Practical Exercises

(adapted from Georges Perec’s Species of Spaces and Other Pieces)

Observe the street, from time to time, with some concern for system perhaps.
Apply yourself. Take your time.
Note down the place,
the time,
the weather.

Note down what you can hear. Anything worthy of note going on. Do you know how to hear what’s worthy of note? Is there anything that strikes you?
Nothing strikes you. You don’t know how to hear.

You must set about it more slowly, almost stupidly. Force yourself to write down what is of no interest, what is most obvious, most common, most colourless.

Force yourself to hear more flatly.

Carry on.
Until the scene becomes improbable
Until you have the impression, for the briefest of moments, that you are in a strange town or, better still, until you can no longer understand what is happening or is not happening, until the whole place becomes strange, and you no longer even know that this is what is called a town, a street, buildings, pavements…