Neven Lochhead (A '15)

Socratic Monologue (Refrain) 


In late August 1883, the earth’s atmosphere was ringing like a bell. Krakatoa had erupted to produce a sonic event so loud that it reverberated around the planet for days. Thousands of miles away from the volcano, the sound was heard with total clarity. Witnesses reported it returning at regular intervals as it circled the earth with an increasing level of abstraction. For many, the source of the sound remained unknown. Speculation rose amongst different communities: some were convinced that the Day of Judgment had arrived, others fled their homes fearing an incoming attack, while fleets of boats set out in search of an imagined vessel in distress. “Constant peals of thunder, but without any lightning. The last reports made us tremble all over.” 

Neven Lochhead is a Canadian artist from Kingston, Ontario, who works in video, sound, performance and music. During his undergraduate degree in medieval literature, he was music manager of a commu- nity radio station. While fulfilling the expected coordination tasks that are required of a station manager, he also hosted regular midnight radio shows. It was there, in the unregulated broadcast zones, that Lochhead began to embrace structural absurdity: one night he fumbled on air with a pile of disks for an hour before finding “the right song to play.”