Childlike only in the depth of innocence

Fulya Uçanok

Childlike only in the depth of innocence

  • Fulya Uçanok
  • Year of composition: 2019
  • Duration: 8:00
  • Instrumentation: cello, percussion, mono fixed medium [pre-recorded voice (alto)] and stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Distopya Sound Art Festival

Drawing inspiration from the Distopya Sound Art Festival’s theme, my approach focused on the notion that both utopias and dystopias present imaginative alternatives to the status quo. These conceptual constructs stimulate our minds, prompting us to recognize realities beyond our habitual experiences, which we tend to accept as singular truths.

The composition is an exercise in such imagination, provoking the esoteric psychogeography of the performative ritual enacted within the concert space. By challenging some norms regarding stage presence and expectations, the piece aims to blur established boundaries and invoke moments of in-betweenness and pluralism. It invites the audience to create various meanings through different engagement strategies with the performance (through listening and seeing).

During the live performance, a loudspeaker is positioned at the center of the stage and solely plays back the pre-recorded vocal performer. Flanking this central element are the two instrumentalists, a cellist and a percussionist, seated on either side of the “voice.” Surrounding the performers, at an encompassing angle, are two more loudspeakers for the stereo fixed media: an electroacoustic montage of cello, percussion, field recordings and electronics. The mediated vocal presence is stable and consistent throughout the piece, while the musical events are in constant flux, happening (or swarming) around it.

Although the voice source remains invisible, its aural presence is very strong. Consequently, the traditional notions of source and agency are deliberately obfuscated, questioning the origins of sounds and the performers’ roles on stage. The overarching objective is to play with the concepts of reality and unreality, and of presence and absence, by eroding clear-cut boundaries.

As an expression of great admiration and respect, who has inspired me on so many levels throughout my life, the piece serves as an homage to author Ursula Le Guin.


Childlike only in the depth of innocence for cello, percussion, mono fixed medium [pre-recorded voice (alto)], and stereo fixed medium was commissioned by the Distopya Sound Art Festival and premiered on October 31, 2019 by Mehmet Gökhan Bağcı (cello) and Amy Salsgiver (percussion) at the Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi (Istanbul, Türkiye) during the 2nd Distopya Sound Art Festival. Thanks to Gökçe Göknel (voice), Mehmet Gökhan Bağcı (cello) and Amy Salsgiver (percussion) for their musical contributions used for creating the fixed media parts.


  • October 31, 2019, Mehmet Gökhan Bağcı, cello; Amy Salsgiver, percussion; Fulya Uçanok, diffusion • Distopya Sound Art Festival: Electroacoustic Concert, Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi – B Konferans Salonu — Beşiktaş Güney Kampüsü, Istanbul (Türkiye)