Voice is an operative, expressive medium for both self-constructed and unconscious identity formation (Herrero, 2009). The magic of voice as I invoke it in this project lives within the special tension between a physically produced sounding phenomenon and the disembodied vibration in the air that carries meaning.
In the near future, the creation of multiple voice identities, which could be gender, ethnic, and gestural hybrids will be possible. Voice can be synthesized and simulated until it seems replaceable; with only about one minute of original recordings, neural networks can distil a synthetic voice. This can then be used to read out texts with different emotions. In this project I propose this co-existence of absence and presence might take us beyond the polarization of "natural" versus "artificial", opening up an infinite space of possibilities: hybrid voice-identity formations.
My research questions, derived from practical explorations investigate these identities interdisciplinarily, theoretically, and systematically, through a setting of laboratory performance situations (case studies), focusing upon aspects of speech and body-space relations mediated by (artificial) voice.
The aim is to understand immateriality of voice as a quality that identifies us but also allows us to question identity formation in generative ways. We take the phenomenon of voice for granted - until we lose it or (voluntarily) replace it. Now is the time when this synthetic replacement is about to become an original with very singular qualities. Implications for communication are yet unclear and hard to predict due to the black box of coding and lack of practical experiences.
My research opens the box of the (im-)materiality of voice and practice of identity to reveal novelties, collisions, absurdities caused by the tension created across new and old technologies. I expect the results to contribute to the field of performance practice, sound art, cultural and philosophical studies.