(Excerpt 2′ 41″)

Installation views, Freed From Desire, RENENEE, Amsterdam, March 2021 (photos: Nikola Lamburov)

Unknown Number

2021, 2-channel audio and cotton enclosure, duration 22′ 35″

An unknown number called me, sometimes twice a day, on and off for about three years. I never answered and no message was ever left. Searching this number online revealed conflicting reports from various sources. It is the gas company wanting to install a smart meter. Scammers pretending to be the gas company. Automated sales pitches in unknown languages. Rogue injury claim lawyers. Even a mysterious man who says ‘I’d like to speak to…’ then hangs up.

Unknown number is set in a call centre without boundaries. It is an inexhaustible system, inhuman yet made by/of humans, repeating itself to infinity but always on the edge of collapse under its own absurdities.

Victor Bock, Raya Carbone, Rick Carbone, Thom Driver, Les Gibson, Gregory Hari, Peter Harris, Aylin Leclaire, Glenn Ryszko, Claire Sellwood and the synthetic entities Olivia, Lisa, Lenny, Sarah, Kathy and Fred.

(Stereo excerpt of 4-channel audio)
Installation views from Mountain Song (Master of Voice MA graduation show), Dokzaal, Amsterdam, June 2018    

The Shadow of Your Dog

2018, 4-channel audio loop, duration 16′ 30″, printed text

Where is the emotional weight of a song located? How does it engage in pathos? This is a song that listens, lets the body take over, and moves to a transmutational engagement with what Roland Barthes called the ‘grain’ of the voice, or ‘the materiality of the body speaking its mother tongue’.

Beyond is all Around Me

2017, video with sound, duration 55′ 02″

This work combines found footage (a YouTube screen grab from the game Minecraft) with found voice (narration from the film Alone in the Wilderness, 2004).

Alone in the Wilderness is a documentary based on film reels and journals made by the naturalist Dick Proenneke, who spent his last three decades living alone in the Alaska wilderness. The narrator sounds like a proverbial wise old grandfather, dispensing hard-won wisdom with wry and wistful asides. It is natural to imagine Proenneke himself at the mic. However, Proenneke’s ‘voice’ in the film is a construction. His journals were edited into a script by the film makers, which was narrated by an actor. Proenneke himself died shortly before the film was made.

Minecraft is a hugely successful video game in which players build worlds in a graphically simple, highly stylised virtual environment. One could imagine a player spending decades within the game, building virtual log cabins and roaming a world which, unlike Alaska, is limitless.

Combined, these two inauthentic sources produce a weird sort of alternate authenticity, which is both liberating and disturbing. We have more world building tools than ever before. Yet data, facts and the voice itself are increasingly questionable, due to deliberate obfuscation for political ends, but also because of the underlying, alienating effects of techno-capitalism.

Daisy Broken Throat

2017, video with sound, duration 0′ 47″

A sore throat renders my voice alien, and its use as a marker of identity is thrown into question.

A New Career in a New Town

2016, audio, duration 2′ 59″

Shortly after moving to Amsterdam in 2016, I was invited by London-based radio station Resonance FM to cover a David Bowie song of my choice. The title of this instrumental, from Bowie’s 1977 album Low, neatly described my position at the time and carries with it an invigorating sense of renewal and hope.

In this entirely acapella version the usually distinct categories of voice and instrument are merged. The voice, freed from the task of conveying language, becomes its own song.