Installation by Gilles Aubry for the collective exhibition “There is no party so noisy as the one you’re not invited to” at TENT, Rotterdam, 03.12.2022 — 05.03.2023. Curated by Linnea Semmerling
Gilles Aubry delved into one of the oldest collections of sound recordings on shellac discs at the Sound Archives of the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, also known as the Lautarchiv. This archive contains voice recordings of WWI prisoners of war. The men were brought to Europe to fight for their British colonial ruler on the German front. When they were captured, German scientists saw an opportunity to study them as an ‘alien race’, forcing them to perform their speech and song for their recordings. The installation’s two tuning forks resonate at 435 and 136.1 hertz, respectively. The first tone corresponds to the fourth A on a piano and can be heard at the end of each of the German scientists’ recordings as a reference tone to determine a gramophone’s correct turntable speed during playback. The second tone corresponds to the OM frequency used in the Hindu philosophical tradition and Western esotericism and is said to derive from Earth’s rotational speed around the sun. The record on the turntable gradually transitions from one frequency to the other.
Performance on 11.2.2023 with Carolina Mout
During Art Rotterdam 2023, Aubry will activate his installation with a performance he developed together with actress, singer, and voice-over Carolina Mout, whose voice is very familiar to the people of Rotterdam through the announcements of the local public transport RET. Together they will engage in a series of vocal exercises and experiments on the boundary of machine learning and vocal training, artificiality and embodiment.