Voice of 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.

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

Musicworks #126 Interview

Click here to read my interview with Alex Varty.  “ERIN GEE SINGS THE BODY ELECTRONIC”

Fresh on the heels of my return from the premiere of Echo Grey in Vancouver (my newest composition for vocal quartet, feedback soloist and tape), I find I’ve received my physical copy of Musicworks, which is a triannually released publication featuring experimental sounds from across Canada.

Amidst a really massive transition phase right now, I find that teaching full time has really changed what I can do as an artist.  Pushing myself to learn entirely new skillsets in organization and pedagogical performance (sidenote: yes, everything is a performance) has left me with little time or energy to invest in building new technologies.

Music composition has been something that I can invest time into, as all I need is a few moments, a microphone, my laptop, a notepad with pencil scribbles, my imagination.

This interview with Musicworks magazine was very interesting for me, as recently my opportunities have been coming from music composition.  The whole issue is actually very interesting, with a full feature on music and sound revolution in VR spaces, as well as some features on other very energetic and productive electroacoustic artists.

Musicworks #126 is available now with a special curated cd of sounds included in the physical magazine.  On this CD you can find a track from my Voice of Echo (2011) series.

Echo Grey

Echo Grey is a composition for four voices, feedback musical instruments, and tape part (which features the sounds of a broken image file).

World premiere at Vancouver New Music with Andrea Young, Marina Hasselberg, Sharon Chohi Kim, Micaela Tobin, Michael Day, Braden Diotte, and Erin Gee in November 2016. It has also been performed at Open Space Gallery (Victoria), and Neworks (Calgary).

Movement between words or utterance, the echo’s voice exceeds the signal itself and speaks to a deeper engagement with materiality.  In Echo Grey, I composed a series of vocal patterns that emerge directly with breath as raw material, the movement of intake and exhalation made audible. The choir’s engagement with the mechanistic, impossible repetition eventually negates the signal: all that is left is the lungs and vocal vibrations of the individual who gasps, cries in defeat, and whoops in ecstasy.  These human voices are simultaneously punctuated by the feedback of microphone and amplified instruments, and a tape track composed through process – a bouncing of data back and forth between visual and aural softwares that eventually results in nothing but glitched statements.  This tape track is analogous to the squealing proximity of the sender to the receiver in the scored feedback parts.  The colour grey in the work’s title is inspired by the back and forth motion of a 2HB pencil stroking endlessly across an empty pad of paper.

Echo Grey 2016

 

 

Fall Commission for Exo/Endo and Ilk

This fall 2016 the performing groups Exo/Endo and Ilk will premiere a new music composition by Erin Gee in three Canadian venues in Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary.  This new work is intended to be an extension of Gee’s work Voice of Echo (2011).  Stemming from a solo performance of this work in 2015 in Toronto at Trinity Square Video (What can a Vocaloid Do?), Gee will newly re-create materials based on vocaloid creatures, artificial intelligence, electronic voices in human bodies, authorship, subjectivity, embodiment, voice and agency telematically using a system developed by Michael Palumbo.  This work will employ five singers, and an experimental turntableist and extended bass player.

Exo/Endo is Andrea Young (voice and electronics), Michael Day (prepared turntables/percussion) Braden Diotte (multi-instrumentalist, agitated electric bass and electronics)

Ilk is Sara Sinclair Gomez, Sharon Kim, Micaela Tobin, and Andrea Young

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.