Angeliki Diakrousi

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Distortions on Air


An imaginative diagram explaining a web-audio distortion of vocal inputs online in the project Radio-active Monstrosities https://radioactive.w-i-t-m.net/. The graphic visualizes an 'echo' audio mask. It has been inspired by the Lawrence Abu Hamdan's Code Switching drawing

The Distortions on Air is a workshop organised under the context of Special Issue #15 - Radio Implicancies of the Experimental Publishing (XPUB) master. It is an attempt to navigate through our current (past or future) thoughts, research threads and vocal memories via distorted voices and different languages. To do that we will explore the concepts of 'code-switching' and 'audio mask'.

'Code-switching' occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages in the context of a single conversation or situation. There are several reason that somebody uses this technique. The 'audio mask' is a term borrowed from Laurie Anderson and refers to the electronic alteration of the voice. Similar to the theatrical mask, this audio mask served Laurie to transform her present voice into the recorded and polyphonic speech of a machine. She used it to transform to a man on stage.

We will visit different scripts of vocal distortions and reflect together on ideas, that expand to the digital/online realm and datasets, through our collective or individual alter egos. We could alternate from codes we use daily to coding languages, mother tongues, from less formal to more formal settings. The voice you choose may represent you, may not, may be unknown to others, or represent something you are against to. A voice that may be rejected or misinterpreted but helps you speak to the public. You may also use a confusing and ambiguous language, and an accent that sounds annoying to others.

This vocal online dialogue will happen through the exchange of small voice samples that we will produce. Our voice data will be processed and reconsidered. What happens when voice samples separate from us and in what contexts do they travel? Are they accumulated together with others? Do they scatter or disappear?


Screenshot from the workshop's class page in the XPUB wiki