“The Voice” by Art of Failure

voice1.jpgThe Voice by Art of Failure (Nicolas Maigret and Nicolas Montgermont) - The Voice arises from the diversion of a software for blind people, allowing to transform a video image into sound. The concept is used to design a tool for a performance / installation, where some objects chosen on the place become a series of instruments producing tones according to their shape and color. The performers stage objects of everyday life in a concert where the spectator is immersed « in an almost utopian relationship between visual and sound ».

The Voice software has been designed by Peter B. L. Meijer to propose an alternative way of perception for blind people. With the use of a webcam or a mobile phone, a sound transcription of the visual scene recorded by the device is synthesized. After a learning phase, this set-up allows blind people to recognize some elementary objects, and then a real space movement (link).

PERFORMING WITH THE VOICE: The concept of this software has been embezzled from its first usage by the two artists. This minimal interface is thought as an audiovisual improvisation set-up sending back to the beginning of experimental movies as well as a questioning about synesthesia. The usage of this interface is intuitive and fluid because of the direct action of objects simply ordered in front of the web-cam. The spectator assists to the manipulations of objects and experiments a direct relation between the image and the sound. Every choice of an object which will be « projected » then transformed into sound is arranged at the same moment by; its suggestive or narrative potential, its formal or graphic structure, and the sound qualities we can expect from it. The connection of several visual and sound elements leads to an embryo of story than each one can fill with his own experience. This performance / installation is not more centred on the sound than on the visual, it is all this at the same moment, and quite particularly between these two fields, in the empty and impalpable space between these two informations.

THE VOICE 2004 from art of failure on Vimeo.

THE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE SET UP: The set up of the performance is simple. Two web cam are recording two zones on a table. The image of these zones are then scanned by a software and transcripted in realtime into sounds. The artist can compose these zones with a serie of objects (paper or 3d objects) and interact simultaneously on the videoprojection and the sound produced.

Nicolas Maigret, has been developing an experimental practice of sound and electronic images (performances, installations, programming, radio) since 2001. Researcher between art and science, his work takes the shape of a laboratory, decomposing technological tools to generate specific sonic or visual language from them. He tends to place audience in the situation of psychic and physical experience. Ex-member of the laboratory Locus-Sonus, he teaches the Intermedia at the fine arts School of Bordeaux at present.

Nicolas Montgermont, researcher and artist, studies the relations between art and sciences using the computer as a workshop. After a formation in signal processing, he studies sciences applied to music at the IRCAM center, being specially focused on real time control of synthesis. Currently, he carries out a PhD thesis on the analysis of the flutist playing at the Laboratory of Musical Acoustics (LAM) in Paris. His creating work is the search of a numerical aesthetics, using and developing personal tools to explore the specific possibilities of a computer. He works mainly on performances with the chdh collective and on installations in duo with Nicolas Maigret (Festival du Cube (Issy les Moulineaux), Nuit Bleue (Arc et Senans), Elektricity (Reims), Pixelache (Helsinki, FI), Scopitone (Nantes), NIME (Paris), Kassel DokFest (Kassel, DE), vision’R (Paris), simultan 03 (Timisoara, RO).

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