Orpheux Larnyx (2011)
Erin Gee Tag
Vocal work for three artificial voices and soprano, feat. Stelarc.
Music by Erin Gee, text by Margaret Atwood.
I made Orpheux Larynx while in residence at the MARCs Auditory Laboratories at the University of Western Sydney, Australia in the summer of 2011. I was invited by Stelarc to create a performance work with an intriguing device he was developing there called the Prosthetic Head, a computerized conversational agent that responds to keyboard-based chat-input with an 8-bit baritone voice. I worked from the idea of creating a choir of Stelarcs, and developed music for three voices by digitally manipulating the avatar’s voice. Eventually Stelarc’s avatar voices were given the bodies of three robots: a mechanical arm, a modified segueway, and a commercially available device called a PPLbot. I sang along with this avatar-choir, while carrying my own silent avatar with me on a djgital screen.
It is said that after Orpheus’ head was ripped from his body, he continued singing as his head floated down a river. He was rescued by two nymphs, who lifted his head to the heavens, to become a star. In this performance, all the characters (Stelarc’s, my voice, Orpheus, Euridice, the nymphs) are blended into intersubjective robotic shells that speak and sing on our behalf. The flexibility of the avatar facilitates a pluratity of voices to emerge from relatively few physical bodies, blending past subjects into present but also possible future subjects. Orpheus is tripled to become a multi-headed Orpheux, simultaneously disembodied head, humanoid nymph, deceased Euridice. The meaning of the work is in the dissonant proximity between the past and present characters, as well as my own identity inhabiting the bodies and voices of Stelarc’s prosthetic self.
Music, video and performance by Erin Gee. Lyrics “Orpheus (1)” and “Orpheus (2)” by Margaret Atwood. Robotics by Damith Herath. Technical Support by Zhenzhi Zhang (MARCs Robotics Lab, University of Western Sydney). Choreography coaching by Staci Parlato-Harris.
Special thanks to Stelarc and Garth Paine for their support in the creation of the project.
This research project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and MARCS Auditory Labs at the University of Western Sydney. The Thinking Head project is funded by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Music: Orpheux Larynx © 2011 . Lyrics are the poems by Margaret Atwood: “Orpheus (1)” and “Orpheus (2)”, from the poetry collection Selected Poems, 1966 – 1984 currently published by Oxford University Press © 1990 by Margaret Atwood. In the United States, the poems appear in Selected Poems II, 1976 – 1986currently published by Houghton Mifflin © 1987 by Margaret Atwood. In the UK, these poems appear in Eating Fire, Selected Poetry 1965 – 1995 currently published by Virago Press, ©1998 by Margaret Atwood. All rights reserved.
Orpheux Larnyx (2011)
Nocturne (x + 1) at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal // February 20th, 2015. Reviews and interviews at Creator’s Project: Spend a Night at the Museum, Surrounded by Digital Art and BOOOOOOOM magazine.
“X+1 at Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. For the next Nocturne du Mac (Friday February 20) :
X+1 unfurls the universe and aesthetics of net art and web culture. For this Nocturne evening, the walls of the circular architectural space of the Rotonde will be enlivened and filled with a profusion of images. Networking and exchange activities, along with many different creations by local and international artists, will merge together before being retranscribed in a unique, immersive, visual experience.
The originators of the project⎯Erin Gee, Benoit Palop, Sabrina Ratté and Tristan Stevens⎯have invited artists from their personal networks who, in turn, have each invited another artist, a method of selection that emphasizes URL social activities and the open source, exponential nature of creation in the Internet age: hence the designator X+1.
As part of this event, Sabrina Ratté and Roger Tellier-Craig will put on an audiovisual performance at 8 p.m., which will be followed by a performance by hybrid characters created by Erin Gee. Max D. (Deglazer) will move about the space and project his creations live throughout the evening.”
Morehshin Allahyari, Anthony Antonellis, LaTurbo Avedon, Jeremy Bailey, Masha Batsea, John Boyle-Singfield, Brenna Murphy & Birch Cooper, Jennifer Chan, Max D. (Deglazer), M. Plummer Fernandez, Adam Ferriss, Carrie Gates, Émilie Gervais, Erin Gee, Claudia Hart, Anna Hawkins, Faith Holland, Zahid Jiwa, Alex M. Lee, Sara Ludy, Claudia Mate, Lorna Mills, Adriana Minolti, Sam Newell, Maryann Norman, Aoto Oouchi, Eva Papamargariti, Lorena Prain, Sabrina Ratté, Rafia Santana, Nicolas Sassoon, Tristan Stevens, Roger Tellier-Craig, Josh Tonies, Reid Urban and Krist Wood.
Four-part score for electronic voices in organic bodies debuted as part of New Adventure in Sound Art’s Deep Wireless Festival of Transmission Art, Toronto, Canada.
Body Radio is a composition for four performers that reverses the interiority/exteriority of a radio, which is a human voice in an electronic body. Small wireless microphones are placed directly in the mouths of the performers, who are each facing a guitar amplifier. The performers control the sensitivity of both the amplifier’s receiving function and the microphone’s sending function in accordance with the score. The final sounds are a combination of inner mouth noises, breathing, and varying pitches feedback controlled by the opening and closing of mouths.
New Adventure in Sound Art’s Deep Wireless Festival of Transmission Art, Toronto, Canada