DEMO4 Ahreum Lee - Multiple selves
Multiple Selves is an experimental sound piece that contains three songs titled "Glitch Ghosts" "Glitch is Error" and "Ghost Echoes." These songs were generated by a text-to-speech application created by the artist and three choir members mimicking the sound of an artificially generated voice. This project can be presented as a three-channel video installation or as a live performance by the choir.
The text-to-speech application is based on the International Phonetic Alphabet of English words. Unlike other computer voices or commercial text-to-speech applications, the syllables were exaggerated by randomly alternating pitch, length and tone of the pronunciations. Songs were generated by the artist typing text of her own and quotations from the book Glitch Feminism by Legacy Russell.
The possibility of gender-ambiguous computer-generated voices has not been widely considered because of the commercial nature of their use. Rather, Siri or other similar AI voices are more likely to reinforce gender prejudice. When we communicate with virtual assistants; we command, and they answer. Even though we know this is not a real human, we still engage in a conversation as if speaking to a human being because this technology triggers the language function in our brain the same way talking to a real person would do (Nass & Brave 2007).
This project aims to create computer-generated voices that suggests the possibility of non-gendered voices. The concept of “Multiple Selves” is taken from the book Glitch Feminism, but is originally found in E. Jane’s Nope (a manifesto). “Multiple Selves” “pushes back against a flattened reading of historically othered bodies—intersectional bodies who have travelled restlessly, gloriously, through narrow spaces.” Multiplicity acts like freedom. Instead of making a singular computer voice, this project embraces the concept of self as multiplicity and approaches voice by differing all the pitches and tones of single phonetics. As such, instead of making computer-generated voices that mimic the human, humans (Phth ensemble) learn and mimic computer-generated voices.
This DEMO is presented as part of COMPOSITE #26, co-organized by Molior, Hexagram, MAPP MTL and the Montreal Sciences Centre. COMPOSITE is a bimonthly networking event dedicated to digital creativity. This event aims to create a recurring meeting space between the art world and the industry of the digital sector, by encouraging the meeting and pollination between creators, artist-run centers, organizations, businesses and digital professionals.
BIOGRAPHYAhreum Lee is a musician and interdisciplinary media artist from Seoul, South Korea currently based in Montreal. She is also completing a master’s degree at Concordia University under the supervision of Lynn Hughes and Leila Sujir. Through a variety of media Lee is interested in examining the feedback loop between the individual and society. How are fears and anxieties hidden within the power dynamics of society? How can one subvert the power dynamics in this relationship? Her most recent installations have centred on the influence of algorithms on individuals' perceptions of reality and the hidden anxieties revealed through our relationships with new technology.
She was a finalist for the Emerging Digital Artist Award held by EQ Bank and Trinity Square Video (Toronto) in 2019. She has exhibited and performed in Montreal at Fonderie Darling, Studio XX, Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, as well as Third Shift Festival (Saint John), and Axis Lab (Chicago). Additionally, she has participated in the Intersections | Cross-sections (Toronto) and In Motion: Performance, Unsettled Borders (Chicago) conferences and Emerging BAiR program at Banff Art and Creativity Centre.