Presented in 2016 at Ars Electronica (Linz)
as part of their Alchemists of our Time exhibition.



Abstract

Aquaphoneia is an alchemical installation centered around the poiesis of time and the transmutation of voice into matter.

A large horn floating mid space echoes the ghosts of Edison, Bell, and Berliner’s machines. But unlike early recording, herding sound energy to etch pressure patterns in solid matter, this odd assemblage transmutes voice into water and water into air. Disembodied voices abandon their sources to cross the event horizon of the horn. Estranged, the schizo-phone falls into the narrow depths of the bell, squeezed into spatiotemporal infinity, calcinated, liquefied and released: the aqueous voice then flows into three alchemical chambers where inner time is surrendered to the tempi of matter: unbound, yet lucid and sound.

In one corner, voices bubbling inside a sphere of fire are brought to entropy and transmuted into a timeless concentration of spectral mist and phonetic vapor. An ouroboros chamber twists fermented vowels into distilled consonants to release a thin blade of prosody. This viscous alchemical matter lowers itself to the terra beneath, where matter dances to its own affective tonality. Another module separates speech into vital elements a drop at a time: words into phonemes, into phono particles, and the invisible quanta of silence.


Credits

MICHAEL MONTANARO
Art direction, visual concept and design.
NAVID NAVAB
Art direction, installation concept, av composition, sound, programming, behaviour design.
PETER VAN HAAFTEN
Electronics, sound design, programming.

Consultation/assistance: Nima Navab (embedded light design), Joseph Thiibodeau (electronics)
Research collaboration: Topological Media Lab / Concordia University
[an “in time” FQRSC funded project]