Performance / We as Waves
Call for participation: https://kenes.eventsair.com/isea2022/performance/Site/Register
- Abstract: A two-part performance for voice, electroacoustic music, and sonified physiological markers of affect (heartbeat, skin conductance, and respiration). Using guided meditation, hypnosis, and Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), Gee triggers physiological response in listeners wearing DIY biofeedback hardware, transforming physiological signals into synthesized sound. Through psychosomatic contexts of group listening, Gee composes music to enact phenomenological positions that are post-subjective, leaky, and affective, drawing upon feminist epistemologies to emphasize the transductive and non-reductive qualities of sound. The goal: to connect our bodies and minds to perspectives normally beyond human representation, being both witness to measurement, and being within the measurement.
Using second person to speak “directly” to the audience, Gee composes affective experience as grounds for composing biofeedback music, speaking directly to the unconscious mind of the listener while speculating a non-humanist intimacy on grounds of experimental physics.
In part one, Gee worked with queer playwright Jena McLean to translate Tara Rodgers’ feminist epistemology of sound to induce transductive thought, drawing associations between sound waves, oceanic waves, and femininity. Through Rodgers’ work she references logics of non-linear time, contingency, and alternative relations to noise and sound, eventually hinting at a departure from the human in the last line by invoking Catherine Keller’s queer theology: “We are drops of an oceanic impersonality. We arch like waves: Like porpoises.”
In part two, Gee invites audience members to don wearable, non-invasive biosensors, to become sensitive and sensible to their affective physiologies as waves of sound. Using clicks and synthesized tones, the respiration, heartbeats and skin conductance of the audience are sonified in real time, offering a window into the emotional engagement of listeners. This second section is inspired by the way that information is shared (and created) in quantum systems, and is created in collaboration with cyberpunk author Andrew Wenaus.
- Biography: Erin Gee is an artist and composer based in TIO’TIA:KE – MONTREAL. Through her work, Gee hybridizes new media, art-science and performance practice, using feminist epistemologies to foreground unconscious and affect-driven experience. Inspired by the human voice as a conceptual object, she likens the vibration of vocal folds to electricity and data across systems, or vibrations across matter. She is a DIY expert in affective biofeedback, using sensors to implicate the body of the listener as part of her cybernetic systems in place. Her vocal compositions, networked performance, ASMR, VR, AI and robotics have been shown internationally. Erin Gee is currently a doctoral student in the music department of the Université de Montréal, studying with Dr Nicolas Bernier and Dr Jonathan Sterne (McGill University) on the topic of feminist frameworks for biofeedback music. Gee’s research is generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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