In this work, artists Sofian Audry and Erin Gee use the soft vocalizations of ASMR to translate deep learning processes into an intimate, human scale that incorporates role play and personal attention into the syntactical unfolding of an alien vocalization.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a growing genre of aural performance specific to online communities of amateur media creators (ASMRtists) who experiment with aural “triggers” such as whispered words, personal attention, subtle high frequency tapping, and abstract gentle body sounds to soothe the listener into calm and sometimes euphoric states. Through Gee’s tender vocalizations of machine performance we re-embody AI, and give it a physical intimacy through its technological re-mediation as sound.
The algorithmic process featured in this work is a deep recurrent neural network agent known as a “long short term memory” (LSTM) as it processes or “reads” Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The network encounters the book character by character, familiarizing itself with the syntactical universe of the text. As it reads and re-reads the book, it slowly and hesitantly attempts to mimick Brontë’s style within the constraints of its own artificial “body”, hence finding its own alien voice. The revoicing of that speech by a human performer allows the listener to witness the program’s journey from syntactical spaces, vowels, and syllables, eventually creating strings of intelligible text that come to generate sentences.
January 2018: Her Environment @ TCC Gallery, Chicago
March 2018: XXFiles Radio @ Nuit Blanche, Montreal
April 2018: NRW Forum, Düsseldorf, Germany
Erin Gee recording “of the soone” at Perte de Signal, Montreal