Rachelle Koumouris

The larynx is an organ I forget I have. A stem in my throat, it looks like the swollen staff of a flower ovary.

I feel weird that it sits so latent under my chin. A jerk of muscle, air pushed from the trachea.  Sometimes I cough up seeds.

HOSSEI, THUNDERBLOOM, 2023, installation view: West Space, Collingwood Yards, 2023. Photography by Kenneth Suico.

I know my sister is around by the way she clears her throat. I wonder what shape her vocal cords are, compared to mine.

I always imagined hers looking like a harp, pink and glittery; like that scene in Hercules (the animated film) when they’re on Mount Olympus and Hera is long-nosed and beautiful and sparkly.

When I was little my mum and I were at Kmart and I got lost. I found her by echolocating, kind of; I listened out for her cough (she used to smoke) between the aisles.

I was a big bat under Bourke st. Like a good animal, I found her eventually.

My dad did things differently, familiarity with him was music. The opening few bars of Little Wing, Birdland by The Manhattan Transfer, Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder, Tori Amos, Kate Bush.

The tune of the dodgy fly-screen closing, and the two rotations it took for the key to lock the door properly.


Months with you”

My Teta would play a cassette of tarteelas (hymns) for us when we stayed over.

My sister and I would have hot milk with honey in bed (they didn't know I was lactose intolerant).

Beaming, she’d say how peacefully she slept when she listened to those cassettes before bed.

She would make this wavy, washing motion with her hands, rolling away from the body, and then twinkle her fingers like birds flying away.

“Leave for the peace

And silence”

HOSSEI, THUNDERBLOOM THE MUSICAL, performance documentation, 2023. Photography by Jacquie Manning.

What shape did those sounds make?

The cassette getting clicked into the player.

The fluffing of our pillows and

wriggling under 10 doonas to get comfy.

The sound of honey dissolving in milk.


A teaspoon ringing on the lip of a mug,

and her telling us not to spill any,

and to drink it quick while it’s hot.

And the sound of the air moving

through her fingers when she twinkled them.

What shape was the first nano-second of the tape;

the moment the player registered the language?

And what did our brains do,

the first time we heard it, versus the 20th?

When did we register the language?

How have I been augmented?

“Mostly human,

but bot in my chest

New Age Woman"

HOSSEI, THUNDERBLOOM THE MUSICAL, performance documentation, 2023. Photography by Jacquie Manning.

Sound is vibration, characterised by both energy and stillness in its tone and frequency.

If Chladni figures are matter settling in the nodal lines, (the comparatively still areas on a vibrating plane), I wonder if our relationships with repeated sounds can physically shift brain matter.

I imagine my neural response to making sense looks like a tiny storm.

My synapses are fortified in the spaces where sounds are familiar and of family, like clouds so heavy they look violet and opaque.

Without atmosphere to carry vibration, I try to re-make sound in my mind and hold their unrepeatable contexts again.

Being in bed with a belly full of sweet milk. The heaviness of the covers; they are somewhere else.

They are just minute charges from one cell to another, and the gap in-between. Every time I remember, my brain works less to re-materialise. The path clears a little.

HOSSEI, THUNDERBLOOM THE MUSICAL, performance documentation, 2023. Photography by Jacquie Manning.

I told an ex in a letter: the repetitive labour of any relationship needs stability in its foundations, like knitting.

The relentless purity of labour, trying to find compromise in the thread’s tension.

A tight knot, wrapping one strand around itself.

My hands talk to each other in pursuit of an outcome. They are peninsulas to me.

Sometimes it’s automatic, I forget I’m tying.

I think the sweetness comes in remembering.

The tip of my finger forms every cell;

every knot, every word,

every name, for you to swim in and become.

The ocean’s composition changes

the shore dissolves willingly,

There's nothing to forgive.

“Sea of Names

All with you

All again”

Rachelle Koumouris is a currently completing her BFA at the Victorian College of the Arts. She is an artist and writer concerned with the intersection of biology, instinct and community.