ORBIT – A War Series
Space Oratorio for AI-Voice Clones and 3D Soundscape
ORBIT – A WAR SERIES is the creation of a new 3D audio Space Oratorio for AI Voice Clones and electronics, commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia.
The concept of Space Oratorio is derived from the Science Fiction genre – as such, the protagonists of the 32-speaker space installation are AI voices that have shed their physical bodies and found refuge in an imaginary orbit.
They come from all parts of the planet and its realities, their stories are present or millennia old and revolve around the wars against the female body. They identify the mechanisms of systemic violence against women and connect individual stories to the societal and global collective. Their voices are voices of female singers cloned by Artificial Intelligence, immortalized technosocial instruments that range from classical singing to gender-fluid, transhuman, or noise-based recitation.
The texts are based on interviews, reports and documentaries from Afghanistan, Iran, DR Congo, Poland, USA, WWII in Asia or science fiction manifestos by female authors. Sound collages and raging pleas are pushed through the space like blocks of sound, fragmented bodies are held together by a chant distributed over 32 loudspeakers, time and again the individual notes of monumental chord clusters rotate in orbit around the audience at different tempos, and time and again sound spaces open up in the midst of these acoustic worlds of oppression, sheltering dreams, fictions and desires like little islands. The oppression of the feminine as a symbol of the destruction of life and the future of humanity is reflected in the beauty and vehemence of the sounds of melting icebergs, which blend in with the voices as acoustic testimony to an equally subjugated and destroyed nature.
For legal reasons, the audio files may not be used or passed on without the consent of the composer.
The dissolution of the body as an attribution (of identity, gender, social origin), as a protective space between what we think and what we say, as a local resonating body and solid materiality leads in ORBIT to new possibilities of spatial and simultaneous communication. By using these possibilities and “enviromental storytelling”, new techniques for 3D audio will be explored. The composition addresses in particular the voices that, as trans- and posthuman beings, narratively, fragmentarily, spatially, genderfluidly, distortedly and transculturally represent the human and the non-human.
What is unique about the 3D soundscape is that the voices and sounds appear like physical objects in space. Various technology companies are currently developing different types of 3D audio systems. Together with d&b audiotechnik, ORBIT – A WAR SERIES is the fourth joint research work with Brigitta Muntendorf after Archipel (Ruhrtriennale/Theater der Welt/Tanz im August), Forest of Breath (Kunsthalle Mannheim) and MELENCOLIA (Bregenz Festival).
space and audience
The audience is in the middle of two circles of speakers, an outer circle consisting of 24 speakers and a smaller circle above it. This sound dome is a reference to Nancy Spero’s painting “Goddess Nuts”: the Egyptian goddess of the sky, the cosmos, mothers and stars arches protectively over a lifeless female body, an ideogram for maternal protection and comfort.The audience can move freely in the space and settle at different points. It can isolate itself or gather with others at certain stations. In addition to the 3D audio, lighting designer Begoña Garcia Navas develops a lighting concept that transforms the space over the entire duration.
Without physically present protagonists, ORBIT – A WAR SERIES appeals to our inner images: Radical Listening in this context not only suggests this renunciation, but refers to listening as a radical act on the part of the audience.
ORBIT – A WAR SERIES refers to the War Series by the American artist Nancy Spero, in which she was deeply moved by the photos of the Vietnam War circulating in the media at the time, showing in 150 pictures the connection between sexuality and power. The theme of oppressive power structures in an obviously godless world, which is revealed in her art, appears to be of alarming relevance.
Commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia, with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and Kunststiftung NRW.
composition, artistic direction
Begoña Garcia Navas
Field Recordings: Alfred-Wegener-Institut / PMEL (Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory)
a commission of La Biennale di Venezia Musica. With friendly support by the Kunststiftung NRW and Goethe-Institute.