Virtual Voices reviews the current use of automated voices in our cities - considering how human presence is represented through recorded and digitally manipulated sound, and how this is used to direct our behaviour. The work questions how automation has been implemented, re-visioning the positive changes that voice technology could bring to working lives if social good were considered over profit motive.
“It seems as if an invisible, disembodied workforce has moved into the cities. A workforce who have replaced certain roles such as train operators, ticket inspectors, check-out sellers and lift operators. They are becoming more and more present, sounding out from new devices, serving new roles, talking more, and more, and more. Yet who are they?”
Virtual Voices articulates this workforce: hearing it’s many mouths and many heads that speak simultaneously across great distances, hearing it’s limited representation of the population, it’s gender bias, and it’s embodiment in the machinery it speaks from - the lumps of technology now clothed in a sonic human identity. Looking to the future, the work proposes how we could shape a positive automated future - one that doesn’t result in mass unemployment or misrepresentation, but supports the anti-work movement’s call for ‘The Right To Be Lazy’. In support of this the artists commit their own voices into a hybrid synthetic persona, creating their own virtual workforce to speak on their behalf.
Virtual Voices is part of the project Listening for Instruction - a sonic survey reviewing the current position of automated sounds in our cities.
A collaboration with Hannah Kemp-Welch, first exhibited at Fringe Arts Bath, Bath Festival 26 May - 10 June 2018, with an 8 channel edit of Virtual Voices exhibited at Sound Reasons Festival 26 October - 21 November 2018 and at Reel Lives exhibition's concert series, Here, there and in-between, on 30 January 2019 at London College of Communication.
Reel Lives: Here, there and in-between, concert, London (UK). This series of three concerts curated by CRiSAP's Cathy Lane for the exhibition Reel Lives will feature performances and works from emergent and established sound artists from the UK and Europe. Through these events you will be invited to sonically engage with aspects of the voice and language, places near and far and recent and current events through the different styles, ears and perspectives of each of the artists. The performances will take place in the main gallery space at LCC which will feature an eight channel system surrounding the audience to reconfigure the gallery as an immersive listening space.
Artists include: Ain Bailey, Caroline Bergvall, Kate Carr, Viv Corringham, Poulomi Desai, Caroline Devine, Lisa Hall and Hannah Kemp-Welch, Cathy Lane, Lina Lapelyte, Brona Martin, Else M’bala and Karen Power.
Sound Reasons Festival, exhibition, Delhi (IN). Group Show: Venzha Christ, Marcus Maeder, Shun Owada, Arnont Nongyao, Salomé Voegelin, Ish S, Cathy Lane, da Saz, Suvani Suri, Paul Purgas, diFfuSed beats, Lisa Hall & Hannah Kemp-Welch, Wicked Mannequins, Bidisha Das, Kaushal Sapre and Dipali Gupta.
It Sounds Devicive!, exhibition, Bath (UK). Group Show: Hannah Kemp-Welch & Lisa Hall, Michael Ridge, Cosmic Latte, Frances McBain, Peter Barnard, Justine Flynn, ZOOX, Reinhard Gupfinger & Lee Riley, Iris Garrelfs and Martin Vishnick