PRO­GRAM Mar­tine Ned­dam and her guests Arthur Dirk­sen and Andre Cas­tro pre­sent: Com­puter Voice; the Ghost in the Ma­chine
A col­lab­o­ra­tive pre­sen­ta­tion in 3 parts. When ma­chines can speak we be­lieve they can think,  when ma­chines can sing, we be­lieve they have feel­ings. We have en­tered a time of di­a­logue with the ma­chines, and we need to in­ves­ti­gate about their voice, where does it come from? Who gave them a voice? We need to un­der­stand the re­ac­tions these voices cre­ate in us, how they ma­nip­u­late us.

canteenArthur Dirk­sen cre­ator of syn­thetic voices, will talk about the tech­niques in­volved in the cre­ation of syn­thetic voices. From vin­tage for­mant-based syn­the­sis, through di­phone syn­the­sis, to the unit se­lec­tion tech­niques that are pre­dom­i­nant today, we will see that nat­u­ral­ness in­creases as we rely more on record­ings of ac­tual human speech.
Andre Cas­tro, voice artist, pre­sents a per­for­mance where a chat-bot gains a more human face through the trans­la­tion of her tex­tual out­put into vocal ut­ter­ances. But her human con­di­tion isn’t en­tirely sat­is­fy­ing, there­fore she wants to re­main partly ma­chine?–?to be per­fect, to have a voice with­out a body, and most im­por­tantly; to sing in key. These de­sires bring her voice into a world of sound ma­nip­u­la­tion, al­go­rithms and ef­fects.

Aaron Schus­ter: The Acous­matic Voice

Ac­cord­ing to psy­cho­analy­sis, the voice is a strange kind of ob­ject, sit­u­ated on the bor­der be­tween in­side and out­side, self and other, mean­ing and en­joy­ment. It both be­longs to the body, em­a­nat­ing from its in­te­rior and car­ry­ing with it the self’s in­ner­most thoughts and emo­tions, and yet is also un­place­able and un­con­trol­lable, a for­eign el­e­ment that dis­pos­sesses the sub­ject of its iden­tity.

In this short pre­sen­ta­tion, we will focus on the phe­nom­e­non of the acous­matic voice. The term is taken from mu­si­col­ogy (Pierre Scha­ef­fer) and cin­ema stud­ies (Michel Chion), where it des­ig­nates a voice whose source can­not be seen or im­me­di­ately lo­cated. This raises the ques­tion: can the ori­gin of voice ever be pre­cisely de­ter­mined?


Launch of the new mas­ter­class Cir­cuit Bend­ing the Voice, news from Ri­etveld Uncut, a Beam Club sneak pre­view and per­for­mances by A Voice and Noth­ing More? (read­ing group lead by Clare Butcher) and Let’s Voice! Let’s Vote! (mas­ter­class per­for­mance po­etry by Quinsy Gario)


Aaron Schus­ter is a philoso­pher and writer. He teaches the The­ory pro­gram at the Sand­berg In­sti­tute, and is a fel­low at the In­sti­tute for Cul­tural In­quiry ICI Berlin. He has writ­ten on such top­ics as the phi­los­o­phy of tick­ling, sneez­ing and cin­ema, the his­tory of lev­i­ta­tion, the films of Ernst Lu­bitsch, anti-sex­u­al­ity, com­plain­ing, and the pol­i­tics of lazi­ness, and has col­lab­o­rated as a writer with artists on a num­ber of pro­jects. His book The Trou­ble with Plea­sure: Deleuze and Psy­cho­analy­sis is forth­com­ing with MIT Press.

Mar­tine Ned­dam is an artist who uses lan­guage as raw ma­te­r­ial. Her favourite sub­jects have al­ways been “speech acts”, modes of ad­dress, words in the pub­lic space. Since 1996 she be­came an in­ter­net art pi­o­neer, cre­at­ing vir­tual char­ac­ters who lead an au­tonomous artis­tic ex­is­tence in which the real au­thor is in­vis­i­ble. One of them be­came a cult fig­ure of iden­tity cre­ation: Mouchette and her web­site mouchette.org.

Arthur Dirk­sen stud­ied Dutch lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture at the Uni­ver­sity of Utrecht with a major in Lin­guis­tics. After his PhD he be­came in­volved in speech syn­the­sis re­search. In 1997 he started Flu­ency, a small com­pany that de­vel­ops text-to-speech soft­ware for Dutch and, more re­cently, Frisian users.

Andre Cas­tro is a sound artist from Lis­bon, cur­rently liv­ing in Rot­ter­dam. In his artis­tic prac­tice he often em­ploys DIY and ex­ploratory strate­gies in order to ap­pro­pri­ate and re-con­tex­tu­al­ize found me­dia-ob­jects for which he nur­tures some form of fas­ci­na­tion, such as the lost au­dio-tracks from a colos­sal on­line archiveRadio Lib­erté Égalité Be­y­oncé, the whis­pers, stum­bles, and si­lences of ra­dio­phonic dis­course Radio Frag­ments, the noises from small elec­tronic am­pli­fiers put into it­er­a­tive cir­cles Tac­tile Noise, or the sto­ries told over spam email mes­sages Nar­ra­tives of De­cep­tion.



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