Erin Gee Tag

LAUGHING WEB DOT SPACE

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

The URL: https://laughingweb.space

This website enables survivors to record and listen to the sounds of their laughter, and through the magic of the internet, laugh together. Visitors of any gender that self-identify as survivors are invited to use the website’s interface to record their laughter and join in: no questions asked. Visitors can also listen to previously recorded laughter on loop.

Why laughter? Laughter is infectious, and borne of the air we still breathe. We laugh in joy. We laugh in bitterness. We laugh awkwardly. We laugh in relief. We laugh in anxiety. We laugh because it is helpful for laugh. We laugh because it might help someone else. Laughing is good for our health: soothing stress, strengthening the immune system, and easing pain. Through laughter, we proclaim ourselves as more complex than the traumatic memories that we live with. Our voices echo, and will reverberate in the homes, public places, and headphones of whoever visits.

The site is officially launched on October 3rd, 2018!

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.

Click here to visit Laughing Web Dot Space

Credits

Graphic Design – Laura Lalonde
Backend Programming – Sofian Audry, Conan Lai, Ismail Negm
Frontend Programming- Koumbit

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

Exhibition History/Upcoming

October 3 -23, 2018 – Eastern Bloc, Montreal. Curated by Eliane Ellbogen

February 16, 2019 –The Feminist Art Project @ CAA Conference – Trianon Ballroom, Hilton NYC.

February 2019 – Her EnvironmentYards Gallery, Chicago. Curated by Chelsea Welch and Iryne Roh.

June 26 to August 11, 2019. SESI Arte Galeria, FILE festival, São Paulo, Brazil.

Reviews/Interviews

(2019) https://chiartshub.com/2019/01/27/review-entanglements-forces-us-to-consider-our-relationship-to-technology/

Fields, Noa/h. (2019). “Dangling Wires: Artists Examine Relationship with Technology in Entanglements.” Scapi Magazine (Chicago). https://scapimag.com/2019/02/05/dangling-wires-artists-examine-relationship-with-technology-in-entanglements/

Fournier, Lauren (2018). “Our Collective Nervous System.” Canadian Art. https://canadianart.ca/interviews/our-collective-nervous-system/

Berson, Amber (2018). “Amplification” Canadian Art. REVIEWS / OCTOBER 23, 2018. https://canadianart.ca/reviews/amplification/

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.

/
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

~~~~~~~
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)

~~~~~~~~~
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.

Ideas Lab Denmark

I will be giving a unique and in-depth workshop hosted by Emotional Data Lab (Aarhus University), Interactive Denmark and Ideas Lab in Aarhus, Denmark from November 21-23.  The workshop consists of 3 three-hour sessions where I will share my materials and experiences with incorporating physiological markers of emotion into the VR-compatible Unity environment.

Participants will be placed into “teams” in order to work together, experiment, and discuss the promises, problems and potential of using biosensors to capture a user’s emotional experience through digital tools.

William Basinski @ Pop Montreal

September 15th, 2017 – 17h POP Box (3450 St Urbain, Montreal)

In the context of this year’s Pop Montreal Festival Symposium, I have been invited to engage in a public conversation with avant-garde composer William Basinski .

Click here for more information on the Pop Symposium, taking place September 14-17, 2017.

Creator of the widely acclaimed album set Disintegration Loops (2002), Basinski is an intuitive composer of ambient electronic music who works work magnetic tape loops to access dreamlike acoustic spaces.  He once described himself as investing incredible amounts of meditative energy towards improvisation and locating the “timeless, amniotic bubble” of sound one could float within. A bubble is an apt metaphor for these sounds: expansive, swirling voids that physically emanate from thin slips of magnetic tape.

Among other topics, I’m looking forward to this opportunity to speak with Basinski about the physicality of sound, both in the sound producing bodies (the magnetic devices he charms into circles and feedback-song) and the receptive media bodies (us leaky humans).

Take a listen below to Basinski’s soundcloud account in order to experience his processes in tape loop and delay systems, found sounds, feedback, and shortwave radio static.