Erin Gee is a Canadian artist and composer who explores digital culture through metaphors of human voices in electronic bodies. Working across musical performance, choral composition, robotics, and audio art, Gee’s practice is distinguished by an interdisciplinary approach to sound in art and music, as well as in areas of technology, science and engineering. Her work has been shown internationally, most recently at MediaLive Festival, USA (2017), Hamilton Artists’ Inc. Canada (2016), Transfer Gallery, NYC (2015), Device_art Triennale, Croatia (2015). She has collaborated with artists and composers such as Hamilton Children’s Choir, Stelarc, Andrea Young, and neurophysiologist Vaughan Macefield. Her research in sonification of physiological markers of emotion has been noted by Scientific American, VICE, MusicWorks, Canadian Art magazine, and the National Post, among others.
Gee received a Limited-Term Appointment as full-time Assistant Professor in the department of Communication Studies at Concordia University from 2015-2017, teaching in areas of sound production, gender and technology, and sound studies. She has published work in Leonardo Music (2013) as well as eContact! Journal of Canadian electroacoustic community (2010). Gee is also the creator of futurefemmes, an online blog archived by Cornell University featuring interviews, showcased work and links to relevant articles on the topic of women working in technological culture. Originally from Regina, SK, Gee currently resides in Montréal, Canada.
Gee has received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec, as well as support from the Conseil des Arts de Montreal, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Saskatchewan Arts Board. She is grateful for their continued support of the arts.
<<<human voices in electronic bodies ….
<<<electronic voices in human bodies…<<<
I am chiefly inspired by processes of vocalization, vibration and language as sites from which meaning is drawn from humanity, which is subsequently articulated by techne. Through my exploration of human voices in electronic bodies, I have created interactive sculptural soundworks, robotic interfaces for sonifying physiological-emotional data, printed images, solo performance work, dance performance for multiple screens, and unique musical instruments for use in vocal ensembles. I develop technology and systems for sonic form in order to enact speculative imaginings. By linking sound concretely to gender and technology, one can employ sonic form as a model for complicating larger systems of assumption about the human body, exploring how voices and bodies can be extended, perverted, multiplied and challenged. This speculative work in new media is of critical necessity in a historical moment when technologies are increasingly corporatized, normalized, and territorialized by capitalist systems of production and surveillance. These conditions cause me to ask: What does it mean to reimagine technology and music through historically neglected oral modes of sensory communication, privileging other sensory models for human vocalization, togetherness, and embodiment?
As originally posited by Donna Haraway in her 1989 Cyborg Manifesto, the political possibility in the cyborg lay not in a comfortable technological fetishization of technology, which reifies systems of normative power, but through a critical rejection of the origin of the human. Historically, which bodies are deemed as fully, partially or ambiguously human has been an expression of shifting politics and agencies more than biological fact—women, people of color, and those deemed atypical in neurological functioning or physical capability have all suffered historically under categories of the “human” and “humane” as that which determines reasonable agency and accommodation in society. In light of these historical factors, my exploration of technology enacts a feminist perversion of human narcissism in machinic coupling, wherein I use sonic structures as a playground for proposing systems where anti-oppressive values of democracy, listening, and empathy are emphasized. O/Au/ral communication methods create unique space for interactivity, noisy dissent, play, experimentation, and articulation of identity that resonates across real and virtual space, and thus provides a guiding force in technological work that extends beyond merely sounding media.