A Series of Gaps Rather Than a Presence (2019)

Performance and Radio piece, commissioned by Deutschlandfunk Kultur and CTM. Presented live at HAU2 Berlin on January 30, 2019, as part of CTM Festival. Broadcast on 31st of May 2019. Length: 41:12

A Series of Gaps Rather Than a Presence is a tale about home, a story of returning, or, if you are so inclined, a story of repentance. This piece explores the temporal loops connecting the Prussian Phonographic Commission (Preussische Phonographische Kommission), established in the beginning of the 20th Century, and the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge) one hundred years later. Both institutions are connected not only in time and space, but more importantly in their desire to classify, rank, organize, and taxonomize otherness based on vocal traits such as the articulation of an accent.

A Series of Gaps Rather Than a Presence

Working with musical composition, archival material, and databases for speech and accent recognition, the performance explores the fractal threads of sonic biometrics and their colonial impulses. It misappropriates speech corpora and sound archives as decolonizing pedagogical moments, as well as reclaims the contingency of accents as forms of auditory insolence and sonic fabulation against machine listening.

Performed by Pedro Oliveira (electronics, narration) together with Enana Alassar, Mariana Bahia, and /Lio.DIC/ (voices).

Listen to the full piece at Klangkunst
English translation of the German text (PDF)

CTM Festival programme (WWW)

With support from the Lautarchiv an der Humboldt-Universität Berlin.
Thanks to Anna Biselli at netzpolitik.org

Photos by Luiza P.

A Series of Gaps Rather Than a Presence