Review: Canadian Art

Amber Berson wrote a thoughtful review on the occasion of Eastern Bloc’s 10th anniversary exhibition Amplification that features discussion and images of my first internet-artwork https://laughingweb.space

This exhibition meant a lot to me as an artist that has been supported by Eastern Bloc over the years not only by the fact that they have exhibited me and involved me in many projects…but also I have been enriched an supported by their fantastic programming.  I salute Eastern Bloc and wish them all the best in their next 10 years!

To read the article, click here.

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! 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.

Click here to visit Laughing Web Dot Space

Credits

Graphic Design – Laura Lalonde

Backend Programming – Sofian Audry, Conan Lai, Ismail Negm

Frontend Programming- Koumbit

Exhibition History/Upcoming

October 3 -23, 2018 – Eastern Bloc, Montreal

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

February 2019 – Her Environment, Chicago

Press/Interviews

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

Algorithms that Matter @ IEM Graz

I’ve been selected to be a featured artist in residence at the Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik (IEM) in Graz, Austria, participating in the Algorithms that Matter Residency from April-June 2018.

From the ALMAT website:

“Algorithms that Matter is an artistic research project by Hanns Holger Rutz and David Pirrò.  It aims at understanding the increasing influence of algorithms, translating them into aesthetic positions in sound, building a new perspective on algorithm agency by subjecting the realm of algorithms to experimentation.

Almat is grounded in the idea that algorithms are agents that co-determine the boundary between an artistic machine or “apparatus” and the object produced through this machine. The central question is: How do algorithmic processes emerge and structure the praxis of experimental computer music? The hypothesis is that these processes, instead of being separated from the composer—as generators and transformers of infinite shapes—exhibit a specific force that retroacts and changes the very praxis of composition and performance.”

 

I will use this opportunity to extend my reach into exciting new forms of embodied algorithmicity, developing new techniques for combining physiological markers of emotion with algorithmic agencies.

To learn more about the research and proceedings of this residency, check out scans of my sketchbook, and transcriptions of conversations between myself and the other residents/researchers at IEM, click here to access our open exposition on the Research Catalogue online platform.

 

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

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!

of the soone

A disembodied voice invites the listener to partake in a speculative audio treatment that promises to awaken underdeveloped neural passageways through exposure to the non-human processes of neural network language acquisition.

of the soone is the first 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.

of the soone, Gee welcomes the listener to a speculative neural treatment called “language processing and de-processing”, preparing the listener as a subject by dressing them in a fluffy terry robe and EEG cap to monitor brainwaves. She introduces the listener to the many benefits of this language processing and de-processing “treatment”, as  sonic exposure to machine learning processes allow one to to subliminally reinvigorate under developed neural-linguistic pathways in their own human mind.

During the aural treatment, the subject listens to Gee’s voice reading out the results of a process enacted by 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 the neural network agent’s linguistic journey, and to experience the augmentation of this machine-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 work aims to reveal the listener’s own cyborgian qualities as part of the hybrid system in place.

Exhibition History:

April 2018: NRW Forum, Düsseldorf, Germany

March 2018: XXFiles Radio @ Nuit Blanche, Montreal

January 2018: Her Environment @ TCC Gallery, Chicago

text 2018. Courtesy of artists.

MediaLive Festival 2017

Happy to announce that I will be presenting a new version of my “BioSynth” at the MediaLive festival (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art) in May.  This year’s festival features an amazing group of artists, gathering under the theme THE VOID.  For this upcoming performance I will be moving towards a more sophisticated sonic treatment of the physiological signals, and returning to the ideas of “choir” and “vocality” of emotion that I began with my earlier work “Song of Seven: BioChoir” with the Hamilton Children’s Choir.

BioSolo

Using the BioSynth, I improvised a set for my breath/voice and my sonified heart and sweat release at No Hay Banda in an evening that also featured the very interesting work of composer Vinko Globokar (Russia).  The improvisation is very sparing, the goal is to exploit interesting rhythmic moments between heavy breath-song and the heartbeat, all the while exploring limits of respiratory activity and seeing what effect it has on my physiology.

Photography: Wren Noble

BioSolo was first performed at No Hay Banda series in Montreal at La Sala Rossa, organized by Daniel Àñez and Noam Bierstone.