Virtual Demo Artists Exhibitions Video Abstract
#MeToo, award-winning, interactive installation, machine learning, digital audio, digital fabrication, parametric design, digital signal processing
Cacophonic Choir is an interactive sound installation aimed at bringing attention to the first-hand stories of sexual assault survivors. We do this through rethinking the relationship between the narrator and the listener; in this case, the survivor and the public, as well as the survivor’s own account of their experience and its public reflection and distortion. In realizing this work, we employed several digital media techniques, including machine learning, physical computing, digital audio signal processing, and digital design and fabrication. Cacophonic Choir is composed of nine individual voices that are each embedded in physical structures that are distributed in space. Altogether, from a distance, these voices form an unintelligible choir. Within this choir, each voice has a unique story to tell. These narratives are not static, however; they transform as a visitor approaches. Fragmented and distorted at first, the voices respond to the visitor’s bodily presence, and their narratives become clearer and more coherent as one gets closer. For this piece, we developed software that modulates the linguistic and auditory coherence of these narratives based on the proximity of the observer to the narrator. In other words, the arrangement of words is less meaningful at a distance and becomes more coherent when approached. The full narrative is revealed only when one is in very close proximity to a given voice. These recitations are generated by a machine learning algorithm that we designed and trained on the anonymous accounts of more than five hundred sexual assault survivors. Their stories were shared on The When You're Ready Project, a website where survivors of sexual violence can have their voices heard.
Hannen Wolfe and Sölen Kiratli
In collaboration with Alex Bundy
Videography by Salih Tokur
Photography by Gökhan Tugay Şeker
Publications Presentations Media Coverage
Şölen Kıratlı is an artist, architect, lecturer, and researcher. Her work lies at the intersection of sound, interactive media, and digital design and fabrication. Her work has been exhibited at SIGGRAPH Asia, CURRENTS New Media, NIME, and Contemporary Istanbul, amongst other places. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Media Arts and Technology Program (MAT) at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where she focuses on digital media practice and research.
Hannen Wolfe is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Colby College. They earned a PhD in Media Arts and Technology (2019) and a M.S. in Computer Science (2017) from University of California, Santa Barbara as well as a B.A. in Visual Arts from Bennington College (2009). Their work has been shown at ISEA, NIME, and CHI. Their artwork focuses on the relationship between body and technology, giving computers and robots biological qualities.