AUDIO EVIDENCE OF INDEFINITE UNIVERSAL SUPPLICATION BREAKFAST (2020)
Audio Evidence of Indefinite Universal Supplication Breakfast (2020) is an audio performance in which I recorded the intimate sounds of eating pancakes and sausage and drinking coffee (black) while reciting the proverb "the voice of the people is the voice of God." A translation of the Latin vox populi, vox dei, the statement is contentious; as 8th century deacon Alcuin of York writes, "And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness." This phrase is especially resonant in light of our current fraught political climate as well as the use of data mining techniques to extract the voice of the people from social media. In Audio Evidence of Indefinite Universal Supplication Breakfast, I use my own voice--and make it hard to use my own voice--in order to perform my ambivalent relationship to the idea of the people's voice. Which people? Whose voice? Since I can't swallow and speak at the same time, the performance also emphasizes the challenge of working to get one's basic bodily needs met while also making one's own political voice heard effectively in the public sphere.
AUTOMATIC TELLER (2018) an installation for ATM machines
Automatic Teller uses synthesized speech--currently used by many kinds of talking machines--to voice true information taken from patents filed for ATMs equipped to perfume cash. It is unclear if any of these devices were actually produced. The language of these patents brings to the fore our anxieties regarding paper money as an unhygienic, circulating material entity, queasiness felt all the more in the age of the credit card.
The piece is currently exhibited through artist David Lindsay's Popwalk app, accessible when the listener is within 20 meters of a Wells Fargo bank at the following address: 2714 Smith Street, Houston, TX. It can be installed in other ways--played on an MP3 player through speakers, for example--as long as it can be heard when the listener is near an ATM.
EARMARK (PERFORMANCE ALIVE!) (2017) an experimental audio tour of the museum of performance+design in san francisco, ca
Live performance is ephemeral, contingent, and reliant on temporary connections between and amongst performers and audience. As such, it poses a challenge to archival preservation, made more urgent in light of the recent explosion of performance in museums of visual art. Museums dedicated to archiving the performing arts have long been negotiating the historical fragility of live performance. However, visitors are often not familiar with the peculiar demands made on their imaginations when asked to reconstruct the full sensorial experience of a performance in their mind’s eye and ear.
Unlike music, theatre and dance have historically prioritized documentation via photography, often neglecting to record the sounds of the actual live event. But the acoustic world of performance has been indexed in other ways: through an assemblage of references to sound and music in reviews and memoirs; in interviews, which can also capture the idiosyncratic timbre of performers’ voices; and in collections of musical scores. These are not the dead traces of live events, but have their own unique liveliness that can be mobilized through creative curation.
Interested in amplifying the energy of these materials, my collaborator Seth Warren-Crow and I produced an experimental audio tour of San Francisco's Museum of Performance + Design, an institution that has 3.5 million items in its collection, including the archives of the San Francisco Opera and Ballet and the personal papers of choreographer Anna Halprin. Our sound piece, accessible via headphones, integrates archival sound clips from oral histories and performance videos, binaural recordings of the neighborhood around the museum, and a dreamlike narration. Museum visitors are prompted to move throughout the museum space, out the door, and around the block, all the while listening to descriptions of exhibited materials that can't actually be seen and fractured memories from a tour guide gone awry. Earmark (Performance Alive!) creates a complex space and time--here and there, now and then, present and past, private and public--through an immersive audio experience.
BOY FAILS TO CONFRONT THE INDIGNITY OF DEATH BUT IT'S OK (2016)
Boy Fails to Confront the Indignity of Death But It's OK incorporates appropriated sound from a YouTube video. On the video, a young teenage boy delivers a spirited rant about an audio compilation of cockpit voice recordings of pilots captured moments before a crash. I consider my piece to be a sound object in recognition of the materiality and symbolic significance of the (nearly outmoded) tape player and cassette.
Boy Fails to Confront theIndignity of Death But It's OK is related to my scholarly research on the sonic and affective properties of girly voices (see my publication "Screaming Like a Girl: Viral Video and the Work of Reaction" published in the journal Feminist Media Studies).
GENERAL EQUIVALENCE, OR PILLOW TALK FOR THE OLFACTORILY IMPAIRED WORKER (2012)
This piece was inspired by a perfume created by Microsoft VP of Sales Patrick McCarthy. McCarthy got the idea for the products “His Money Cologne” and “Her Money Eau de Parfum” after reading about a Japanese study allegedly proving that the smell of money pumped into a factory increases the efficiency of its workers. The box containing the perfume bottle also includes shredded bills.
In preparation, I collected descriptions of the smell of money from English-language literature available on Google Books. Then, I read the script over a purchased commercial Muzak-style track. The resulting recording might improve the efficiency of anybody working while listening to it, even those unaware of their labor (after all, post-industrialist economies have recoded play as work).
The piece was exhibited at the PNEM sound art festival in Uden, The Netherlands (2014)--where audiences listened inside park cars--as well as at the Electric Nights Festival in Athens, Greece (2012), Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn in the US (2012); and at the Public Library of Cincinnatti and Hamilton County in Ohio (2013). A new version of the piece, played on vinyl, was later integrated into my live sound performance Swan Divin' Into a Tub of Scratch at Compliance Division project space in Portland, Oregon (2016).
image credits: PNEM festival of sound art
hashtagconfession documents the collective affect of English-language Tweeters on the third and fourth of August, 2011. To create the piece, I gathered a large number of Tweets all tagged “#confession,” arranged the Tweets by subject, and repositioned them in list form. Then, I recorded a Mac computer voice reading the mass confession aloud. What emerged is a series of sometimes contradictory, always emotional thoughts on sex, death, fear, wrongdoing, love, and racial and national identification. The computer voice adds an element of humor to the piece as well as a surprising tenderness.
hashtagconfession was exhibited in Kollorod, Sweden, at Stian [con]temporary Art Gallery; at Spring/Break Art Fair and BronxArtSpace in NewYork; at Fictilis Gallery in Seattle, Washington; and later in as part of KChung, a low power transmission art project in LA’s Chinatown and basic.fm, a broadcast art project by Pixel Palace in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. Listeners have experienced it in a gallery bathroom, by pressing their ears against the door of a shed, and while buying refreshments. The piece was made into a LP for the live performance Swan Divin' Into a Tub of Scratch at Compliance Division project space in Portland, Oregon.