Site-specific concert-installation for multi-channel sound (24-channel loudspeaker array, 8 subwoofers, 16 SubPac body-transducers), 5-channel video, and light.
In collaboration with Alan Segal and Victor Shepardson
Using a custom AI-based speech synthesizer, Deviant Chain speculates on the inner workings of non-human intelligences underlying computationally-generated sound. This speech synthesizer is used as the basis for an imagined language: the phonetic material generated by the AI is used to construct a new phonology and notation system specific to it’s unruly output. The work is presented as an evening-length, multi-media concert-installation. Centering on a through-composed composition consisting of synthetic sound (generated by speech synthesizer and otherwise), it points towards a future where humans might have to grapple with non-human language and underlying forms of inhuman cognition — forms of cognition which might no longer correspond to inherited categories of human comprehension. This imagined future is contextualized by drawing on various historical moments where human language underwent irreversible or otherwise remarkable transformations — the movement of the larynx down the throats of Homo Erectus over 1 million years in the early Paleolithic Period, the purposeful construction (as opposed to “natural” emergence) of new languages by so-called “conlangers,” among others. These moments are presented as episodic video pieces which contextualizes and works in counterpoint with the more abstract musical narrative. The work is presented throughout multiple adjoining rooms of Oslo’s Gamle Museet for Samtidskunst, with a large loudspeaker array, multichannel video, and light — frustrating the prospect of an archimedean point, and highlighting provisional access and an organization foreign to intuitive human capacities. Time-synced light and sound spatialization directs the audience through this complex, non-linear interplay of synthetic language, abstract sound, moving image, and fragmentary exposition.
Commissioned by Ultima, opened at Gamle Museet for Samtidskunst, Nasjonalmuseet, September 20th, 2019