Bokowiec, Mark and Wilson-Bokowiec, Julie (2008) The Suicided Voice and Etch. In: Music & Sound Technology Practice in Education Conference 2008, 7-9 July 2008, Doncaster College.

Etch (for performer/vocalist, the Bodycoder System, live MSP & computer graphics)

Etch is the third work in the Vox Circuit Trilogy (2007). In Etch extended vocal techniques, Yakut and Bell Canto singing, are coupled with live interactive sound processing and manipulation. Etch calls forth fauna, building soundscapes of glitch infestations, howler tones, clustering sonic-amphibians, and swirling flocks of synthetic granular flyers. All sounds are derived from the live acoustic voice of the performer. There are no pre-recorded soundfiles used in this piece and no sound manipulation external to the performer’s control. The ability to initiate, embody and manipulate both the acoustic sound and multiple layers of processed sound manipulated simultaneously on the limbs – requires a unique kind of perceptual, physical and aural precision. This is particularly evident at moments when the source vocal articulates of the performer, unheard in the diffused soundscape, enter as seemingly phantom sound cells pitch-changed, fractured and heavily processed. In such instances the sung score, and the diffused and physically manipulated soundscape seem to separate and the performer is seen working in counterpoint, articulating an unheard score.
Etch is punctuated by such separations and correlations, by choric expansions, intricate micro constructions and moments when the acoustic voice of the performer soars over and through the soundscape.

Although the Bodycoder interface configuration for Etch is similar to that of The Suicided Voice, located on the upper torso - the functional protocols and qualities of physical expressivity are completely different. Interface flexibility is a key feature of the Bodycoder System and allows for the development of interactive works unrestrained by interface limitations or fixed protocols. The flexibility of the interface does however present a number of challenges for the performer who must be able to adapt to new protocols, adjust and temper her physical expressivity to the requirements of each piece.

The visual content of both Etch and The Suicided Voice was created in a variety of 2D and 3D packages using original photographic and video material. Images are processed and manipulated using the same interactive protocols that govern sound manipulation. Content and processing is mapped to the physical gestures of the performer. As the performer conjures extraordinary voices out of the digital realm, so she weaves a multi-layered visual environment combining sound, gesture and image to form a powerful ‘linguistic intent’.

Etch was created in residency at the Confederation Centre for the Arts on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia in June 2007 and is dedicated to our dear friend and fellow artist Hilda Woolnough.

The Suicided Voice (for performer/vocalist, the Bodycoder System, live MSP, video streaming & computer graphics)

The Suicided Voice is the second piece in the Vox Circuit Trilogy, a series of interactive vocal works completed in 2007. In this piece the acoustic voice of the performer is “suicided” and given up to digital processing and physical re-embodiment. Dialogues are created between acoustic and digital voices. Gender specific registers are willfully subverted and fractured. Extended vocal techniques make available unusual acoustic resonances that generate rich processing textures and spiral into new acoustic and physical trajectories that traverse culturally specific boundaries crossing from the human into the virtual, from the real into the mythical. The piece is fully scored, there are no pre-recorded soundfiles used and no sound manipulation external to the performer’s control.

In The Suicided Voice the sensor interface of the Bodycoder System is located on the upper part of the torso. Movement data is mapped to live processing and manipulation of sound and images. The Bodycoder also provides the performer with real-time access to processing parameters and patches within the MSP environment. All vocalisations, decisive navigation of the MSP environment and Kinaesonic expressivity are selected, initiated and manipulated by the performer. The primary expressive functionality of the Bodycoder System is Kinaesonic. The term Kinaesonic is derived from the compound of two words: Kinaesthetic meaning the movement principles of the body and Sonic meaning sound. In terms of interactive technology the term Kinaesonic refers to the one-to-one, mapping of sonic effects to bodily movements. In our practice this is usually executed in real-time. The Suicided Voice was created in residency at the Banff Centre, Canada and completed in the electro-acoustic music facilities of the University of Huddersfield.

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