*** PLEASE NOTE: this video contains rapidly flashing images and strobing effects ***
Lexicon is based on a poem written by a 12-year old boy, Tom, in which he tries to articulate his personal experience of dyslexia. By presenting an imaginary sonic and visual journey through the text of the poem, Lexicon explores not only the challenges, but also the life-affirming creative potential that dyslexia, and a fuller understanding of it, can bring.
As part of the creative process the composer has worked with a team of dyslexia experts from the Miles Dyslexia Centre at Bangor University, which has enabled the composition of the piece to draw inspiration from recent research in the field. In particular it makes use of growing body of evidence that suggests that, for many people with dyslexia, a deficit in phonological processing (accessing and analysing speech sounds, and also linking them to letters) is more significant than that in visual or attentional processing on their own. This contradicts the popular but less well supported notion that dyslexia is primarily about difficulties in seeing letters and words on the page. Accordingly, Lexicon is a work conceived primarily with sound as its raw material, with the visual aspect conveying a metaphorical rather than scientific view of the experience of dyslexia.
Lexicon is supported by the Wellcome Trust's 'Engaging Science' programme, which aims to use artistic creation as a means of raising public awareness of biodmedical science. It was composed in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at Bangor University, with additional material developed at CMMAS, Mexico and the composer's studio.
Sound and video: Andrew Lewis
Science Team: Dr Markéta Caravolas
(Director, Miles Dyslexia Centre, Bangor University)
Text: Tom Barbor-Might
Readers: Tom Barbor-Might Martha Lewis
James Bowers Jenny Mainwaring
Michael O'Boyle Damien Vadgama
Many thanks to freesound users vitriolix, luffy, schluppipuppie, FreqMan, transitking and joedeshon for the wonderful vinyl popping sounds used in this piece:
(The original version of this work is in 8-channel surround sound, with loudspeakers located around the audience, and is the only version authorised for public performance. This stereo version is for demonstration purposes only.)