Kerstin Ergenzinger & Sono-Choreographic-Collective for Dystopia Sound Art Festival Berlin 2020

Whistleblowers

Mix of live-recorded single instrument with AI-generated sonification of Whistleblower source texts and the edited myth of King Midas:

 

In a popular Greek myth, Pan the satyr challenged the sun god Apollo, contending that his flute playing was more beautiful than Apollo’s Lyra. Tmolos, the mountain god is called to judge on this and favors Apollo’s sounding strings. King Midas disagrees however, and favors Pan’s flute. Furious, Apollo transforms Midas’ ears into donkey ears and Midas, in shame, hides them for always under a hat. Only his barber gets to see his secret, but is not allowed to tell anyone. As he cannot bear this burden, the barber digs a small hole in the ground and whispers into it: King Midas has donkey ears. A group of nearby reeds overhear the whisper, and moving in the wind they echo in chorus King Midas has donkey ears, carrying the news throughout the land.

Whistleblowers is originally conceived as an outdoor sonic installation of a subtle political intervention. At a time when whistleblowers expose the ways in which we are manipulated by invisible hands, the work draws on three instances of whistleblowing, one mythical and two contemporary, which each make its public aware of being manipulated by those in power. Text from these three sources* (see below) are edited to play upon their semantic, sonic and aesthetic qualities of whistleblowing. These generated words are then sonified through machine learning algorithms and further transduced onto the atmospheric sensitivity of aeolian string instruments.

Seven electro-acoustic string-drum-horns transform, amplify and chant uncomfortable revelations, warning whistles and announcement signals.

These instruments are tuned to a Phrygian Greek Aulos mode, and resonate the natural elements and artificial voices in a spatialized and slightly chaotic constellation. What results is a blending of tuned whispers of the wind with electro-acoustically amplified political voices; a polyphony of wind and strings, acoustic and electronic, in which contemporary secrecies find an echo.

*The tale of King Midas, Ovid, Metamorphoses. Book 11Jon Doe‘s’ Manifesto, Edward Snowden: ‚A manifesto for the truth‘

Collaboration Installation Sound Work / 2020

site-specific sound installation, electroacoustic, aeolian string drum horns. Brass strings, transducers, custom-made electronics, aluminium-tubes, acoustic-horns out of ply-wood, glasfiber and epoxy, dimensions variable.

joint work with Bnaya Halperin-Kaddari and Kiran Kumar  – a Sono-Choreographic-Collective project

Commissioned by Dystopie Sound Art Festial 2020, Berlin. Outdoor permission canceled on short notice by Deutsche Bahn, single-instrument version realized at Alte Münze Foyer