[ISEA2011] Panel: Norie Neu­mark (moderator) – Voicing Electronic Arts

Panel Statement

Chair Per­son: Norie Neu­mark
Pre­sen­ters: Ner­min Say­basili, Igor Stro­ma­jer & Is­abelle Arvers

There is an un­canny qual­ity to voice in elec­tronic arts, vis­cer­ally car­ry­ing bod­ily in­ti­ma­cies to the lis­tener through phys­i­cal spaces, yet dis­lo­cated from the speaker’s body through re­pro­duc­tion and trans­mis­sion. The dig­i­tal voice is para­dox­i­cally human and ma­chinic – in­ti­mate and in­tense,  as it con­nects sub­jec­tiv­i­ties on the one hand and the dig­i­tally ab­stract on the other hand,  as it passes through ma­chines on to the other. Whether voices call to us across the in­ter­net, or across the smaller space of an in­stal­la­tion, or from the small screen of ma­chin­ima, media artists have found this para­dox­i­cal and un­canny qual­ity al­lur­ing and have worked with it across a range of media and emo­tional ranges. While voice is often dis­cussed in a po­lit­i­cal and metaphor­i­cal sense (giv­ing peo­ple a voice through media) the aim of this panel is to ad­dress the aes­thet­ics of voice in media art. Voice, with all its para­doxes and am­bi­gu­i­ties, is over-ripe for the the­o­ret­i­cal and art­tis­tic en­gage­ment that Roland Barthes in­vited with his now very fa­mil­iar con­cept of grain of the voice.  And voice with its in­ti­ma­cies, its in­ten­si­ties, its aes­thetic rich­ness, is all the more di­verse and com­plex in the age when grain has be­come gran­u­lar syn­the­sis. Voice moves across and de­fines spaces and re­la­tion­ships, it res­onates and re-sounds. It in­vokes, pro­vokes, con­vokes. The panel will ad­dress such com­plex­i­ties of voice in the cur­rent dig­i­tal and net­worked mo­ment of elec­tronic art by bring­ing to the fore the dy­namic re­la­tion­ship be­tween tech­nique and tech­nol­ogy and cul­ture, by in­clud­ing the­o­rists and artists in the panel dis­cus­sion.

  • Norie Neu­mark is Pro­fes­sor and Chair in Media and Cin­ema at La Trobe Uni­ver­sity (AU) and Di­rec­tor of the Cen­tre for Cre­ative Arts. She is a sound/media artist who makes sound and ra­dio­phonic work and col­lab­o­rates with vi­sual artist, Maria Mi­randa on media art works that have been ex­hib­ited widely in­ter­na­tion­ally. She pub­lishes on sound and media art, most re­cently as lead ed­i­tor and con­trib­u­tor to Voice: Vocal Aes­thet­ics in Dig­i­tal Arts and Media (MIT Press, 2010). out-of-sync.com