[ISEA2020] Artists Statement: Peter van Haaften, Michael Montanaro & Nien-Tzu Weng — Spiel: performance for prepared mouth

Artists Statement

Tags: Artists, Topological Media Lab

While absorbed in conversation you notice a stranger approaching. With a curious instrument affixed to their face the visitor leans in, and listens. The mouth opens, patterns of rhythm and sound emanate from within: voices recognizable as your own.

Spun out of focus, words reveal their ingrained subtleties as the collector of conversation captures the sentence but not the sentiment. Vocal exchanges are recalled and reflected. Voices are transformed by physical formant inflections, while acoustic hallucinations seem to reference what might have been said.

An étude on hearing lips and seeing voices, the performer’s mechanically augmented vocal tract reshapes and filters conversational spectra into new modes of mis-communication. Spiel physically unravels the tenuous synesthetic relationship between what is seen, heard and understood.

  • Peter van Haaften (CA) is a multidisciplinary composer based in Montreal. He creates live performances, interactive installations, and music for speakers. Peter’s artistic practice musically re-imagines the notion of “algorithm” as a revealing process that can be observed in the vibrating behavior of ordinary objects. He holds a master‘s in musique composition et création sonore from the Université de Montréal. petervanhaaften.net
  • Michael Montanaro is a Professor in the Department of Contemporary Dance and Co-Director of the Topological Media Lab, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. A trans-disciplinary artist, he is dedicated to the envisioning, design and creation of projects that focus on evolving innovative ways in which new technologies are used to enhance the interactive experience.
  • Nien-Tzu Weng is a Taiwanese-Canadian interdisciplinary dance artist based in Montreal. She is currently a resident artist at the Topological Media Lab, where she studies the relationship between movement and new media practices. nientzuweng.com