“Alphabetic pleasures: when signs mate” presented by Spiess, Gollob and Hauser


Session Title:

  • Interspecies (artist talks)

Presentation Title:

  • Alphabetic pleasures: when signs mate

Presentation Subtheme:

  • Symbiotic Individuations




  • The performance installation ‘Alphabetic pleasures – when signs mate’ uses artificial intelligence to relate the latent spaces of visitors’ phonemes with their oral microbiome to reveal the complex symbiosis between a future language and the mating of our oral microbiome. Based on the artists own scientific laboratory data, the performance suggests that the oral microbiome balances its own mating and death rate by encouraging humans to speak the vibrating vowels A E I O U in appropriate combination with the tonal consonants F P T K S SCH. Using a bioreactor-based lab, audience voice splitting, Deep Learning and an artificial voice articulator, ‘Alphabetic Pleasures – when signs mate’ proposes new phonemes that enable the mutual protection of sign systems and the replication rate of the oral microbiome.

    The repetition of phonemes in ‘Alphabetic pleasures – when signs mate ‘ which are necessary to trigger physiological changes becomes the artistic practice of a political ec(h)olalia sustained through literal resonance with other beings, creating a shared habitat of sounds and marginalised oral beings as post-anthropocentric solidarity. Echolalia in ‘Alphabetic pleasures – when signs mate’ goes from meaningless repetition to Ecolalia, a co-constitutive relationship and ethical intimacy with the oral microbiota that disrupts colonial, speciesist and capitalist rhythms of sociality, communication and space.

    Most importantly, the resulting ‘feverish’ phonemes are interwoven with the reproductive activities of the oral microbiota. Thus, the performance offers a sensory imaginary/sensory to explore an ecosexual symbiosis between signs, sounds and non-human sexualities that might make us aware of the correlated linguophonetic and microbial erasure process that has been ignored so far.