Erin Gee Tag

Locus Sonus Residency France

I will be developing a new work for VR in the context of a residency at Locus Sonus in Aix-en-Provence starting February 2018 until May 2018.  During these three months I will push the potential of sonified biodata into increasingly posthumanist/non-anthropomorphic territories using virtual architectures as sensorial training ground, as inspired by materialist philosophers such as Jane Bennett and post-humanist Rosi Braidotti.

About Locus Sonus

Locus Sonus is a research group attached to ESAAix (École supérieure d’art d’Aix-en-Provence) and the French Ministry for Culture, integrated with PRISM (Perception, Representations, Image, Sound, Music) an interdisciplinary research unit that groups researchers from AMU (Aix Marseille University), CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) as well as ESAAix.

Locus Sonus’ main aim is to explore the continuously evolving relationship between sound, place and usage in an Art/Science tradition. The research methodology includes experimentation with emerging audio technologies particularly those relating to sound transmission, mobilization or spatialisation as well as historical contextualisation of such practices. Locus Sonus accommodates practice-based PhD students enrolled at Aix-Marseille University (« Pratiques et théorie de la création artistique et littéraire » E.D 354).

Locus Sonus’ main field of investigation is entitled New Auditoriums, to be understood here as the different ways in which audiences collectively share a listening experience. Beyond physical spaces such as concert halls or open-air stages, we attribute this description to all systems that enable a shared audio experience. Examples include radio, audio streaming or virtual worlds. We consider that each system has particular (audio and social) qualities that call for artistic enquiry and experimentation, these may in turn lead to different types of artistic practice.

Locus Sonus’ current research focuses on audio in virtual environments (for example New Atlantis) and the transmission and perception of remote soundscapes (for example : Locustream).

About the project

In this project I propose virtual space and spoken word as a means of creating a “speculative” materialism that promotes empathy to (virtual) objects by allowing the viewer to objectify and analyze their own (biodata), making material of the human body itself. I’m interested in exploring the limits of virtual physicality and phenomenological experience through imaginative sonic narrative as well as virtual space, making use of simple 3D objects and architectures dramatically lit, referenced imaginatively through the five senses by the unseen narrative voice in order to maintain the focus on sound: the disconnect between virtual material and sonic suggestion forms a useful perceptual noise (for example, the voice writes on a notepad that is never seen, the sounds of a lab or examination room can fade in and out, lab is never seen). During this residency I would record the spoken word sections inspired by roleplay, personal attention and spoken narrative vocalizations typical to the genre of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), a style of sound composition developed largely on the internet that focuses on high frequency noises to create intense feelings of relaxation accompanied by “tingles” felt on the skin. ASMR enthusiasts focus intensely on the physiological reaction of the listener to sound, and so I want to use this voice as a means of loosely describing material agencies of virtual objects as imperative to the expansion of human sensorium. The link between physiological and phenomenological experience and confirmed biofeedback pushes the physical potential of VR into new sonic territories that focus on embodied experience through perceptions of external as well as internal spaces.

Other Residents

I am excited to be working alongside the other residents at Locus Sonus, and learning more about their projects and practices.

raadio caargo (Christophe Aslanian et Aurélia Nardini)

Mitchell Herrmann

LAUGHING WEB DOT SPACE

An interactive website and virtual laugh-in for survivors of sexual violence.

The URL: https://laughingweb.space

Visitors to this site that self-identify as survivors of sexual violence are invited to use the website’s interface to record their laughter and join in, no questions asked. To do so, the user presses the “record” button on the site – which will submit their recorded laughter directly to the site’s admin (Erin) for integration into the master laugh-track. Visitors can also listen to previously recorded laughter of other survivors of sexual violence on loop.

I was putting the finishing touches on laughingweb.space during the 2018 hearing of Brett Kavanaugh as a humble, mostly anonymous, non-social media driven sonic monument for survivors. Whether the laughter is sincere or not, there is a lot of research that demonstrates that even going through the mechanics of joy gives some physiological benefit. Laughing can be made in a spirit of hope, of encouragement, or wicked defiance – my hope is that this website might help others experience solidarity and togetherness with other (anonymous) survivors during challenging times.

 

 

The site is officially launched on October 3rd, 2018! But I still consider it to be in Beta, because it currently is only fully-functional on Firefox browser and Google Chrome browser.  But hey, little steps.  Safari is coming up next!

 

Dedicated to Cheryl L’hirondelle

This project was commissioned by Eastern Bloc (Montreal) on the occasion of their 10th anniversary exhibition. For this exhibition, Eastern Bloc invited the exhibiting media artists to present work while thinking of linkages to Canadian media artists that inspired them when they were young. I’m extremely honored and grateful for the conversations that Cheryl L’hirondelle shared with me while I was developing this project.

When I was just beginning to dabble in media art in art school, the net-based artworks of Cheryl L’hirondelle demonstrated to me the power of combining art with sound and songwriting, community building, and other gestures of solidarity, on the internet. Exposure to her work was meaningful to me – I was looking for examples of other women using their voices with technology. Skawennati is another great artist that was creating participative web works in the late 90s and early 2000s – you can check out her cyberpowwow here.

Special thank you to Kai-Cheng Thom, who with wisdom, grace, and passion guided me through many stages of this work’s development.

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Click here to visit Laughing Web Dot Space

Credits

Graphic Design – Laura Lalonde

Backend Programming – Sofian Audry, Conan Lai, Ismail Negm

Frontend Programming- Koumbit

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to the sooe

A 3D printed sound object that houses a human voice murmuring the words of a neural network trained by a deceased author.

to the sooe (SLS 3D printed object, electronics, laser-etched acrylic, audio, 2018) is the second piece in a body of work Erin Gee made in collaboration with artist Sofian Audry that explores the material and authorial agencies of a deceased author, a LSTM algorithm, and an ASMR performer.

The work in this series transmits the aesthetics of an AI “voice” that speaks through outputted text through the sounds of Gee’s softly spoken human vocals, using a human body as a relatively low-tech filter for processes of machine automation.  Other works in this series include of the soone (audio: 2018), and Machine Unlearning (Livestreamed video, 2018)

to the sooe is a sound object that features a binaural recording of Erin Gee’s voice as she re-articulates the murmurs of a machine learning algorithm learning to speak. Through this work, the artists re-embody the cognitive processes and creative voices of three agents (a deceased author, a deep learning neural net, and an ASMR performer) into a tangible device. These human and nonhuman agencies are materialized in the object through speaking and writing: a disembodied human voice, words etched onto a mirrored, acrylic surface, as well as code written into the device’s silicon memory.

The algorithmic process used in this work is a deep recurrent neural network agent known as “long short term memory” (LSTM). The algorithm “reads” Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights character by character, familiarizing itself with the syntactical universe of the text. As it reads and re-reads the book, it attempts to mimic Brontë’s style within the constraints of its own artificial “body”, hence finding its own alien voice.

 

The reading of this AI-generated text by a human speaker allows the listener to experience simultaneously the neural network agent’s linguistic journey as well as the augmentation of this speech through vocalization techniques adapted from Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). ASMR involves the use of acoustic “triggers” such as gentle whispering, fingers scratching or tapping, in an attempt to induce tingling sensations and pleasurable auditory-tactile synaesthesia in the user. Through these autonomous physiological experiences, the artists hope to reveal the autonomous nature of the listener’s own body, implying the listener as an already-cyborgian aspect of the hybrid system in place.

Exhibition History

Taking Care – Hexagram Campus Exhibition @ Ars Electronica, Linz Sept 5-11 2018

Credits

Sofian Audry – neural network programming and training

Erin Gee – vocal performer, audio recording and editing, electronics

Grégory Perrin – 3D printing design and laser etching

Machine Unlearning @ META MARATHON Düsseldorf

I will be performing (and live streaming) a new audio performance work that features myself in a live ASMR re-performance of deep learning text.  The work will be accessed through a streaming YouTube link via the distributed screens of audience member’s smartphones and laptops for a half hour via headphones in a quiet environment where blankets and sleeping are invited as part of the work.  This performance will take place as part of META MARATHON at NRW Forum, Düsseldorf, Germany on May 26, 2018.

NEW TECHNOLOGY FESTIVAL META MARATHON AT THE NRW-FORUM DÜSSELDORF

42 hours of non-stop talks, performances, film screenings, concerts, exhibitions, and workshops on the subject of Artificial Intelligence: the META Marathon is a new technology festival taking place from 25th to 27th May 2018 at the NRW Forum Düsseldorf. The participants design the festival themselves, switch roles between expert and amateur as well as experiment with the new format—including on-site accommodation. The Festival Director is the futurist and entrepreneur Christopher Peterka.

An innovative technology festival and a digital happening: META is an invitation to participants to collaborate in an open process and collectively develop new ideas on digital modernity and Artificial Intelligence. In doing so, META breaks away from the series of digital conferences and exhibitions that talk about phenomena more than being part of them.

META follows from the assumption that the changes made by digital technologies are so radical that they require new kinds of research and understanding. The participants are invited to work together in a 42-hour marathon packed with stimulating events—in workshops, labs, and talks with sometimes radical exploratory methods—and have the opportunity to spend the night at the NRW Forum.

Those wishing to participate must apply in advance at https://www.metamarathon.net/. The cost of taking part is 42€, which includes food and a sleeping place, and there is space for a total of 400 curious pioneers. Some of those who have already registered are creatives and thinkers from the realms of research, teaching, economics, art and culture, including artist and composer Erin Gee, professor and curator Joasia Krysa, artist and professor Hans Bernhard (Uebermorgen. com), Professor Chris Geiger, nyris founder Anna Lukasson-Herzig, and many more.

What will language look like in the future and how will we use it? How is digital media changing communication? What are the most important skills when machines and Artificial Intelligence are capable of performing human work? How do we perceive and communicate with each other in a world determined by the flow of information and data? Based on the historical agenda of the Macy Conferences, META addresses the issues of memory and storage, language, communication, and learning and perception. The Macy Conferences were ten interdisciplinary conferences that took place between 1946 and 1953 in the United States. It was a hitherto unprecedented open experimental arrangement in which scientists of various disciplines such as neurophysiology, mathematics, psychology, and sociology worked out the basics of cybernetics and cognitive science.

With its novel format, META would like to go beyond the concept of a conference and be a discursive space in which digital modernity and its radical social changes can be explored and described in a festival setting. Contributors should bring their own questions and theories and be prepared to let themes develop on the spot as well as engage in open dialogue between people, disciplines, and machines. The outcome is open and applications will be accepted immediately.

To find more detailed information about the program and to apply visit: https://www.metamarathon.net/

META Marathon
25-27.5.2018

Starts: 25.5, 21:59
Ends: 27.5, 9.30

NRW-Forum Düsseldorf | Ehrenhof 2 | 40479 Düsseldorf

Press Contakt | Irit Bahle | Phone: +49 (0)211-89266-81 | presse@nrw-forum.de

For more information, or to register for the event, visit the META MARATHON website

New World Notes

Project H.E.A.R.T. (2018) was written about by Wagner James Au in his New World Notes blog on virtual worlds. I’m particularly tickled about this because he is the official blogger for the virtual world Second Life, so I’m very honored that he finds the world of Project H.E.A.R.T. interesting!

Wagner James Au, consultant and author of “The Making of Second Life” (HarperCollins) and “Game Design Secrets” (Willey) reports on virtual worlds, VR and related topics — including augmented reality, virtual currency, games and game development, and their appearances in RL popular culture and politics.

Click here to see the article

Rhode Island College

“// lonely avatar”, is an exhibition which investigates the use, meaning, and expressive potential of avatars in the contemporary digital landscape. “Lucid Dreaming” ruminates on the emptiness of the virtual avatar whilst “Project H.E.A.R.T.” involves filling that empty avatar with your emotion through a specially designed biosensor. Both projects follow a trajectory of thought in regards to the metaphorical potential of avatars in the virtual space. Curated by Frank Yefeng Wang, this show features works by Alex M Lee commissioned by Trinity Square Video in Toronto, ON and a project made in collaboration with Canadian artist Erin Gee.

Opening reception: 5-8pm
Artist Lecture: 7-7:30pm

The Chazan Family Gallery
Alex & Ani Hall
Rhode Island College
600 Mt. Pleasant Ave
Providence, RI 02908

Her Environment Chicago

I am previewing a new work I made in collaboration with Sofian Audry, tentatively titled DeepASMR at Her Environment in Chicago in a few days.

Without giving away too much, I’ve been working with Sofian on how AI can be processed, embodied, and felt as a personal relationship through gentle whispers and vocalizations. The work exists as a sound recording for the moment.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Murmurs and Palpitations is a show about ritualized processes of healing and understanding. The show confronts the politics of navigating emotional responses within an environment of virtuality by directly remediating our lived experiences. The pieces in this show pose the question of the dynamic between intimate and immersive media and the ontological self, as experienced through multiple senses and ritualistic gestures. Interpreting Murmurs and Palpitations as sensory and experiential – living electronics – listening to the pulses and vibrations of the works, as they change rhythm through the practice of their language, their breath, the sound and smells of their environment.

Her Environment is an expanded new media art series highlighting feminine spectrum artists. Our focus is on broadening the understanding of how New Media practices can be used in multiple forms of art making, from video to installation and performance. Our aim is to show pieces that challenge how new media can be used, and the male dominated culture that surrounds it.

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murmuring of screens, of bodies
living electronics, low, soft voices
breathing && quivering
chattering
palpitating
actions
actions
actions
incoming messages && touches
exercise in the form of repetitive motions
healing

Curated by
Chelsea Welch & Iryne Roh
w/ Allie Shyer & Nina Berman

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Video Games:
Paloma Dawkins – Gardenarium (Canada)
Tahutahu Studios – Idearum (Madrid, Spain)

Installations:
Hannah Newman – Sky Water (Portland, OR)
Samantha Fickel – Touch Screen (Illinois, US)
Rena Anakwe – Living Narratives [iter.03] (Brooklyn, NY)
Madeeha Lamoreaux – Obtained | Retained [Blood Battery] (Chicago, IL)

Videos:
Hiba Ali – Con-tai-ner (Chicago, IL)
Hifsa Farooq – Two Fans (Lahore, Pakistan)
Yaloo Pop – Workout Routine 2018 (Seoul, Korea/Chicago, IL)

Sound:
Erin Gee and Sofian Audry – Deep ASMR (Montreal, Canada)

Performance:
Mitsu Salmon -Formosan Wood (Chicago, IL)

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01/10/2018 ~ 01/27/2018
MURMURS AND PALPITATIONS is open for viewing from January 10th through the 27th!

Review in Canadian Art

I really appreciate this article by Tatum Dooley for Canadian Art on the Worldbuilding exhibition curated by John G Hampton and Maiko Tanaka at Trinity Square Video. My work Project H.E.A.R.T. which highlights VR and emotions made with Alex M Lee is featured, among other great works by Jeremy Bailey Kristen D Schaffer Eshrat Erfanian and Yam Lau.  Following is an excerpt from the article:

“The gamification of our bodies renders the physical form void, replaced by screens where our bodies and emotions can be morphed and manipulated. Perhaps the only way to create art with technology as advanced and recent as VR is to reckon with its potential consequences.

Gee’s project, the most realized out of the four artists in the exhibition, masters this reckoning. I spoke with Gee in the lead-up to the exhibition, and she explained the conceptual backbone of the piece. “I’m working through questions of emotional sincerity when it comes to self-help. In theory, if you can technologically master your emotions, if you can just make yourself excited, then you can make yourself a better, happier person. I don’t know how sincere that is…”

Click on the link below for the full article.

VR and the Failure of Self-Help Technology

In general, I feel very proud of this work but also very exhausted by it.  Through the project I’ve been working through the relationship between pop music and war, self help and sincerity, and ultimately I’m working through these issues of technique and technology in how life and trauma comes to us.  During the panel for the exhibition, there was a question of whether I was “pro-war”, and it’s one that I have received a few times in facebook messages from curious friends from far away.  The project is complex and difficult to read because I think it has to be.  It reflects my own mediatized understanding of international conflict, maybe my own frustration at my lack of understanding.

The best I can understand war is how it is mediated to me: through video games and news cycles, through abstract discussions on the radio. The goal of this project was never to address the terror and complexity of geopolitical conflict, but rather, to propose a psychedelic pop culture mirror, imagining a video game ruled not by characters that espouse self-righteous violence and grit, but technologically manipulated empathy and enthusiasm.  This game fails to address war in the same way that all technologically mediated attempts to do so fail to address war.  I also am also dissatisfied at the idea of an artistic protest that makes a cartoonish, morally didactic utopia where rainbows and love shoot out of guns instead of flesh-tearing bullets. I think the answer about the politics of this game lie in the end screen: an abstract screen that confronts you with statistics of death and trauma as a result of the battle itself.  I don’t think there is a way to win the game.