The Grounds from Which to Speak (2020)

Single channel video, two-channel sub-bass. Commissioned by the Max-Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics and installed at BASIS Frankfurt, November 2020. Length: 12 minutes. Loop.

Text by Eike Walkenhorst and Ramona Heinlein:

“A boat rocks peacefully in an Italian port in the Mediterranean while the sun draws wave-like patterns on its polished white surface. The random shadow play in the video work The Grounds From Which to Speak is reminiscent of the graphs created when acoustic material is deconstructed into mathematical data. Accent and dialect recognition software effects a similar transformation. Used in asylum processes at European borders by the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), such software analyzes accents in order to verify asylum seekers’ statements about their origins and identities. Both the possibility and the experience of listening to and comprehending a human voice are thus eliminated by an automated process of machine learning, by the conversion of speech into pure data.”

The Grounds from Which to Speak The Grounds... installation view

Installation photos by Katrin Binner / basis e.V.