The Cult of Cassandra & Noise Poetry

Voluminous Arts, Yvonne LeBien, November 1st - 31st, 2022


Yvonne: The audience enters a room. I am inside a dog cage. I have a blindfold and headphones on. There are headphones in a circle around me that are playing what I am hearing. The recording is a cacophony of voices.

The Cult of Cassandra

starved lioness, lobotomy of Apollo

you are my matriarch, Venus of mutilation,

mange, you are an attempt at meaning

so impossible it will be remembered always

-the skull you wear for a ring is so becoming,

the crags between which the Phallus is to be guided,

he fucked your mouth in its fit of babbling

until the tide went out.

scab for-a-dress, lambasting the apes

who have learned to worship but war,

imapine a cult of you,

we'd cut the tongues out of the stars

and it is a curse now to say, daughter,

it is our objective: rotten fruit spills from the bowl,

and if i have the spirit of a woman it is because i see

haloed in all fathers already

the extinction of the sons and the kingdoms

and the very earth they possess in the coming flood,

this tragedy has been with them always.

which i once was

In order to provoke public violence and catharsis I inhabit the body of Kassandra, exposing myself to humiliation, bondage, and an extremity of voices, i.e. destinies. When we enter the public sphere we are forced to conform to the symbolic order of the patriarchy, we are forced to take our unique inner language and violently repress it, which causes self-loathing. Unable to act freely, we obsessively pick apart and critique our own inner language, which constantly emerges and explodes through rifts and causes us to invent devastatingly shameful neuroses about the uncontrollability of our thoughts, rather than embrace their chaotic reality.

To challenge the audience to really enter the inner world of another, to open up that vulnerable space, is a truly radical act, a prophetic act. In exposing the self, its mental wounds, I expose the warmongering and false judgment of polis-being, I expose the absurdity of the polis’ judgment from the inside out/outside in. This of course invites violent repression against me in order to preserve the semblance of social order. This is the prophecy.

Kassandra is radically othered, yet this makes her all the more capable of smelling blood through the walls, sensing the obvious, endless tragedy of male lust. The assumption is that Clytemnestra goes beyond her status as a woman in killing Agamemnon—but did not Agamemnon do the same in killing Iphigenia? Regardless of gender, the house of Atreus is doomed to forever go beyond the pale of acceptable human behavior. This points to a fundamental political equality between the sexes, however much the Greeks were uncomfortable with it. Kassandra sees that terrible equality, which is the realization of the fundamental arbitrariness and lack of foresight of the political-patriarchal elite.

Though women, especially Clytemnestra, stand as foils to Greek politics, at the same time women deconstruct the male political body from the inside, realize its destruction of itself—as in, women show men that men are not men.


Yvonne: I want to push my poetry to extreme volumes using experimental placement of amplifiers and 3d sound. I want to try different things, using live voice and/or pre-recorded vocal samples.

Sound as a physical presence, like walking into a room and seeing someone beating themselves with a hammer. Or walking into a room and seeing someone trans: how can sound gut-punch you in that way? 

With VOICE — voice as a physical presence. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be intelligible vocalizations. 

Maryanne Amacher talks about sound “characters.” What intrigues me about this is the physicality, not so much the sound seeming to have emotions or clothes (colors) and so on, but the sound having body, a bodily presence.