Recipes for Disaster: Post-Digital Voice Tactics

(1997)

Performance for Recycling the Future, Kunstradio, Vienna, Austria, 1997. Script of the performance can also be found on the Kunstradio site.

See updated version of Recipe No. 4 section under the title Radio Naked. Most other sections relate to several other works, each with their own project page on this site.

(FALSE) INDEX

(1) Tactics for the post-digital voice
(2) Techniques of the whimsical
(3) Conversations as sites of solitary confinement
(4) Every book is a failure to open the mouth
(5) How to ingest a microphone
(6) The future as the end of technology
(7) Be cruel with your past and those who would keep you there
(8) How to present doubt
(9) Instructions on how to peel a narrow escape
(10) The roof of the mouth is anxious
(11) The telephone as exchange of transactions and suffocations
(12) The death of analogies
(13) The microphone liberation front
(14) This conversation is going nowhere
(15) Wounded Raised Larynx
(16) I am escaping while standing still.

RECIPE NO. 1: – HOW TO ESTABLISH A DIET TOWARDS NORMALCY (WHILE OVERDOSING ON PEANUT BUTTER)

***MIC MY MOUTH WITH POP ROCKS (AND POP ROCKS IN GLASS)

I found this list written on a small note pad pieces of paper sitting by a public phone at the Concordia library University in Montréal:

hot dogs
steak
potatoes
cucumber
tomatoes
fruit [underlined]
cheese
crackers
marshmallows
6 eggs
chili
cereal
PB.
mustard
relish
Tobasco
steak spice
sugar
jam
margarine
salt
pepper
soft drink
OJ.
milk
hot dog buns
bread

treat for: dessert [underlined]
[I figure PB can only be peanut butter,… and there’s page 2]
Mon
supper: hot dogs

Tue
break: cereal
lunch: PB.
supper: steak, potatoes, cucumber, tomatoes.

Wed
break: eggs & toast
lunch: cheese, crackers, veggies, etc.
supper: chili, bread.

Thurs
break: cereal
lunch: sand – PB or cheese

RECIPE NO. 2: HOW TO CALL THE WORLD WHILE NOT LEAVING THE COMFORT OF YOUR SELF-REFERENTIAL NAVEL

From one found thing to another site ripe with accidents. The telephone is increasingly without answer, increasingly without voice. Conversations are no longer the telephone’s principal calling card. What we connect are transactions and suffocations. The advent of features such as call display, call trace and call block, render one’s phone a veritable fortress. A phone number is not only one’s property but has become inextricably tied to one’s identity. J.G. Ballard defined the Telephone as “a shrine to the desperate hope that one day the world will listen to us.” The telephone has particular poignancy on the radio, it multiplies the holes in the head inherent in the disembodied voices of radio until buoyancy is in question and you start to sink. I felt so alone, no one was here to save me a caller said. We develop porous heads and protruding holes and are strategically placed to become part of the conversation, even if there is nothing to say. Ay ay ay, it’s lonely out there in the middle of nowhere. the telephone call becomes the act and the site for an implosion of identities. An implosion where your story is no longer contained in a hermetic innervoice but is porous with strings and leads, weaving the mix.

In 1994 I decided to call every body in the world who had my telephone number (but with different country and area codes) to see if we had something in common.

***PLAY TRACKS 2 + 3. excerpts from Rappel CD (1:22) (2:43)

RECIPE NO. 3: HOW TO CONFESS WHEN ONLY HALF OF YOU IS YOU, or HOW TO BE A NAMELESS, FACELESS BEING ON THIS PLANET

***PLAY TRACK 4. confessions (3:21)

HELLO
Hello
Is that my voice?
NO, IT SOUNDS LIKE MINE.
Talk! Talk!
I THINK YOUR VOICE BECAME MINE AS SOON AS YOU CALLED How could that be?
OH, SOME KIND OF RELATIONSHIP THAT BEGAN And does it end?
IT ENDS AS SOON AS YOU HANG UP
Are you trying to tell me something?
I THINK SO
Should I be insulted?
YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY, ANGRY, INSULTED…. Does that make sense what you just said? WHAT IS SENSE?
What is what? Are you nervous?
NO, BUT I WAS EARLIER
I think I know that you’re nervous
YA. I THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT ME Only if I want to
DO YOU WANT TO?
Not really. You don’t intrigue me.
I SEE. DOES THIS THING EVER END?
Why what for?
THIS CONVERSATION IS GOING NOWHERE.
Does this thing ever end?
I’M GUESSING IT WILL NEVER END.
What was I talking about? You seemed to know what I was talking about. IT’S JUST YOU AND ME.
Who are you? Describe yourself.
I HAVE KNOBBY KNEES AND A RIB CAGE.
We won’t get personal now
WHY NOT?
I don’t think it’s the time or the place THIS IS NOT A TIME OR A PLACE
So what is then?
UM… IT’S IN BETWEEN
So what is then, if it’s not a time nor a place, what exactly is it? IT’S IN BETWEEN
In between what? Can you be a little bit more specific? Is that what? In between a…
IN BETWEEN. THAT’S WHERE I TRY TO BE, I GUESS SO THAT ONLY FEW PEOPLE CAN FIND ME
Who in particular are you waiting to be found by? WHO ARE YOU?
Who am I?
YA
Just another nameless, faceless being in this planet AND…
Can you be more specific then?
NOPE
This conversation is going nowhere.
I AGREE
Goodnight.

(phone rings)
HELLO
There’s lots to say that hasn’t already been said THAT’S TRUE. IT’S BECOMING KIND OF EMPTY Strange. It feels like I’ve had this conversation before. IT’S JUST YOU AND ME
Are you still you?
NO. I THINK I’VE CHANGED

Grown within the past minutes have you? NO. I HAVEN’T PROGRESSED OR REGRESSED, JUST CHANGED You bore me.
SOMETIMES I BORE MYSELF TOO. GOODNIGHT

RECIPE NO. 4 HOW TO DO A RADIO STRIPTEASE (NAKED)
or tactics for community radio towards a radio without programming

1-Always give the wrong time, date, weather and news report.

2-Constantly change your broadcasting frequency.

3-Do any technical repairs, regular cleanings, planning for shows, committee meetings, training sessions, etc. on the air.

4-Say what another station is saying at the same time. If they complain, tell them you’re a ventriloquist.

5-Insist on the global installation of radio parking meters. The more you stay tuned to only one station the more you have to pay.

6-Have an “Upside Down Week”, where all shows would be found in a different time slot.

7-Have a “Search Week” where all shows would not be found.

8-Have a “Traffic Jam” where stations in different cities broadcast each other’s traffic reports and not their own.

9-Play the accordion: go from one watt to full power in one watt per day increments and back down again.

10-Try to fill a two hour show with a two second song.

11-Try to do fill a two second show with a two hour song.

12-When you have an interview, have the interviewee at the controls and you at the guest spot.

13-Dissect the equipment of your radio station into its component parts: transistors, capacitors, integrated circuits, etc. and send one out to each of your listeners.

14-Go as fast as the technology you’re using. Carry your words to your listeners by running.

RECIPE NO. 5 HOW TO SPEAK BETTER THAN HOW YOU THINK

“US companies have found that high pitched, squeaky voices aren’t just annoying they are unprofitable. Voice lessons for executives are now common” (Globe & Mail B12 Jan 23, 1996)

The antiseptic voice, the homogenous voice is rampant, it wants to be precise, it wants to be universal…. well, perhaps we should conform… we’ll have to learn how to do it:

LEARNING TO SPEAK WELL

“Learning to speak well is an important and fruitful task.” The tape then enumerates the voice types:

***PLAY TRACKS 5 -18. LEARNING TO SPEAK WELL

Track 5 No.1 Neutral Voice, No.2 Raised Larynx
Track 6 No.3 Falsetto
Track 7 No.4 Creaky Voice
Track 8 No.5 Whisper
Track 9 No.6 Whispery Creak
Track 10 No.7 Whispery Voice
Track 11 No.8 Whispery Falsetto, No.9 Creaky Voice
Track 12 No.10 Creaky Falsetto (example)
Track 13 No.11 Whispery Creaky Voice
Track 14 No.12 Whispery Creaky Falsetto
Track 15 No.13 Breathy Voice
Track 16 No.14 Harsh Whispery Voice
Track 17 No.15 Tense Voice
Track 18 No.16 Lax Voice.

We can only speculate what an inflation of the numbers will produce:
No. 795 Breathy Tense Creaky Neutral Whisper …
No. 9,676 Wounded Raised Larynx Lax Vitriolic Falsetto … and finally
No. 126,789 Creaky, Breathy, Radiated, Harsh, Tense, Electrocuted, Fondled, Neutral, Contorted, Raised Larynx, Throated, Vexed, Whispery, Transpired, Articulated and Vehiculated, Incontinent, Vagabonded, Phantomized and Phased, Jaundiced, Relayed, Post-determined and Post-digital, Deregulated, Mellifluent, Erased, Manipulated, Fast forwarded, Battery operated, Synoptic and Phatic and Tonsilitic, Glottal and Colossal, Salivaphile and Expectorant, Lecherous, Licentious, Projected, Reverberated, Remote controlled, Vivisected, Transistorized, Modulated, Masticated, Animated, Assiduous, Analphabête Voice.

the antiseptic voice, the homogenous voice is rampant, it wants to be precise, it wants to be universal…. well, i think i prefer this voice:

***PLAY TRACK 19. SEXUALIZED (Caller: Hello. I would describe myself as highly sexualized, perverted, computerized, audiophonic, loud and obnoxious; basically very human.)

RECIPE NO. 6: HOW TO LET A FRIEND CUT YOUR ARM OFF ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON IN NORTHERN QUEBEC

***VIDEO 1st Clip – the human operating system (1:08)

The young student volunteer had been wearing a virtual reality headset for a few hours, exploring an experimental program intended to help surgeons plan operations more efficiently, and the experience left her warm and weary […] Removing the headset and reaching for a can of pop, the woman found she was pouring it into her eye instead of her mouth.

The perceptual distortions experienced by the young student whose eye became a mouth are but one of the signs of the dangers the body is traversing today. In this context Stelarc espouses that the body is obsolete. This obviously raises many questions. (some are addressed to Stelarc, some are addressed to you, most are unanswerable)

What does it mean to announce the end of evolution and the obsolescence of the body?
At what point are we no longer ourselves? Is the monster a toxin, a cure or a placebo? Will the brain ever be on display on a store’s shelf? as a purchasable item, on sale?
Is the real so hyper that answers precede the questions? What is to become of desire?
Is this a desire to negate desire?
Is desire quantifiable?
Is the complexity of parameters inherent in an organic system based on properties understandable by a machine?
Why has immortality has always been so seductive? Don’t you get tired of living?
With Stelarc is it a case of When Brains have boxes? Or of When Boxes have Brains?
Doesn’t Stelarc’s wholesale replacement of organs by more efficient machines entails a conception of the body strictly as vehicle? Doesn’t the body with replaceable parts entails an economy of manufacturers selling and servicing the body?
Will we soon be selecting via catalogs, via word of mouth, via downloaded pamphlets the best lung for the buck?
Is there a difference from commodities which are on or even in the body
from commodities that are the body? And what of the relation between people
in this scenario?
Isn’t the death of death really synonymous with the death of life? Isn’t there a difference between what is desired and what is desirable? Why does Stelarc not have a single critical bone in his body? Will our eviscerated stelarcian bodies be under extended warranty? Don’t you prefer being soft and wet over being hollow and dry? Isn’t a body -species split, a severing of the human from humanity just an upgraded version of the cartesian endgame? Doesn’t our implication in technology prove that we are simultaneously Frankestein père et fils?
With Stelarc’s projet, haven’t we confused the transgressive with the perhaps more appropriate regressive?

And why engage in a critique of Stelarc at this juncture? while we’re busy recycling the future…
Because without a critical backbone electronic media arts is too easily coopted, diluted, commodified, disjointed, …. Because without a body you have no voice.

There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom.

To conclude, I offer the sobering account of David Wojnarowicz’s last words could easily be read as the last words of the self as it enters the emptiness of the Stelarc post-evolution.

I’ve gone empty, completely empty and all they see is the visual form. I’m a xerox of my former self, I can’t abstract my own dying any longer. I am moving on two legs soon to be on all fours. I’m no longer animal vegetable or mineral. I am no longer made of circuits or disks. I am no longer coded and deciphered. I am all emptiness and futility. I’m a blank spot in a hectic civilization. I am shouting my invisible words. I am getting so weary. I am waving to you from here. I am crawling and looking for the aperture of complete and final emptiness. I am vibrating in isolation among you. I am screaming but it comes out like pieces of clear ice. I am signaling that the volume of all this is too high. I am waving. I am waving my hands. I am disappearing. I am disappearing but not fast enough.

and I say to you:
I don’t know how my voice can whisper when inside my voice is screaming. I am escaping.
I am escaping while standing still.

***PLAY VIDEO CLIP NO.2 (Cow in Fast Forward) and TURN ON MECHANICAL COW, MECHANICAL SEAL AND MECHANICAL SHEEP AND LET THEM LOOSE.

END

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