Echo Tag

ASAP Journal

Happy to announce that my short article on machine learning, ASMR and sound “Automation as Echo” written with Sofian Audry is now published in ASAP/Journal 4.2 in a collection of articles assembled by Jennifer Rhee covering automation from diverse/creative/critical perspectives.

From the article:

“The echo is a metaphor that goes beyond sound, speaking to the physical and temporal gaps in human-computer interaction that open up a space of aesthetic consumption problematized by the impossibility of comprehending machine perspectives on human terms. The echo unfolds in time, but most importantly it unfolds in space: sound travels as a physical interaction between a subject and an object that seemingly “speaks back.”

The mythological nymph Echo “speaks” or “performs” her subjectivity through reflection or imitation of the voice of human Narcissus. Her (incomplete, sometimes humorous, sometimes uncannily resemblant) nonhuman voice is dependent on the human subject, who is also the progenitor of her speech. The relationship between these two mythological entities creates an apt metaphor for machine learning: its processes are not of the human, yet its “neural” functions are crafted in imitation of and in response to human thought. As machine subjectivity is crafted from human subjectivity, we cannot grasp its machined voice, nor perceive its subjective position, through analysis of its various textual, sonic, visual, and robotic outputs alone. Rather, the “voice” of machine learning is fleeting, heard through the spaces, the gaps, the movements between the machine and the human, the vibrational color of nonhuman noise.”

ABOUT ASAP JOURNAL

ASAP/Journal is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by John Hopkins University Press that explores new developments in post-1960s visual, media, literary, and performance arts. The scholarly publication of ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, ASAP/Journal promotes intellectual exchange between artists and critics across the arts and humanities. The journal publishes methodologically cutting-edge, conceptually adventurous, and historically nuanced research about the arts of the present.

Erin Gee - Voice of Echo

Voice of Echo

Voice of Echo Series: 2011. Works for video, audio, and archival inkjet prints.

Exhibition history:

  • Dream Machines. TCC Chicago. Curated by Her Environment, August 16-30 2016.
  • Voice of Echo (solo exhibition) Gallerywest, Toronto. Curated by Evan Tyler, January 5–27, 2012.
  • Parer Place Urban Screens. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane AUS. May 18-20 2012.
  • Uncanny Sound. TACTIC, Cork, Ireland. Curated by Liam Slevin, September 14-24 2012.
  • Contemporary Projects. Curated by David Garneau and Sylvia Ziemann, Regina SK, 2011.

Propelling the mythology of Narcissus and Echo into a science-fiction future, I translate Echo’s golem-like body into a digital environment.

I became Echo in a silent performance for camera: a love song for an absent Narcissus (who is necessary to give Echo presence at all!). I later interpret the digital data from these images not in imaging software, but instead in audio software, revealing a noisy landscape of glitch, expressivity and vocality.  I bounced the data back and forth between the audio and image softwares, “composing” the visual and audio work through delays, copy/paste of image. While the natural world and human perspective created a cruel hierarchy between a human subject/image and a golem-like nymph who was invisible except as voice, technology and machine perspective allow the image and the sound to coexist and presuppose one another. The work is a futurist, emancipatory tale of non-human wrenching itself from dependency on human and instead revealing itself as an entangled, co-constitutive force.

What is the Voice of Echo?  It exists as repetition – of human voice, of Narcissus, a voice that extends anothers’ voice, this other body is somehow more tangible than Echo’s own body. The voice of echo and other non-human voices are unconscious and environmental, ambient, existing beyond symbolic content, the repetitions. The voice of Echo exists as a bouncing of processes, a distortion, a glitch, born of a love and desire uttered but never really heard.

(Description continues below)

I took stills from this love song and translated the raw visual data into an audio editing program, choosing particular interpretation methods to “compose” the echo.  I bounced this data between photoshop and audacity multiple times, eventually coming at glitched sounds of data interpretation, as well as an accompanying distorted image for each “song”.  Echo may only traditionally exist as a re-utterance of Narcissus’ voice, but in this case her cyberfeminist reimagining points at perverse loops somewhere between love, repetition and becoming.

 

Below is the “original video work” that got the call and response process started.

Voice of Echo: Song of Love for Technological Eyes (2011) silent HD video for monitor playback, 18:01 (looped)  Photography by Kotama Bouabane.

Echo is in love with recording technology, particularly the video camera. The mirrors emanating from her throat are her concrete manifestations of her voice – the lovesong intended for the camera’s eye.