Voicebox: Interactive Sound and Video Installation


Session Title:

  • Art and Narrative

Presentation Title:

  • Voicebox: Interactive Sound and Video Installation



  • Project Description

    Voicebox provides an intimate voice interactionwithin an enclosed “box” and an exterior amplification of that interaction outside the box. Inside Voicebox, the participant has the privacy to utter a peep, a word, a scream or a song into a microphone. These vocalizations are sensed and matched in pitch by audio voice fragments, output on interaction as bits and pieces of a lyrical, multivocal song-narrative. Simultaneously on voice interaction, a video switches between several parallel video sequences, which display on both a large-screen video projection outside the box for viewers and on a small monitor inside the box for the participant. On sustained notes, the participant’s live silhouette is keyed in as a third video channel. In this way, the participant “plays” the Voicebox, evoking hidden layers of sound and image.
    Outside the Voicebox , the participant appears to viewers only as a small shadow image, juxtaposed to the large screen projection of the video narrative. Like early silent film accompanists, the participant generates the live musical accompaniment to the moving image. The participant’s voice is heard only intermittently, mingled with the amplified audio that it triggers. The narrative takes shape in successive iterations, in the unique vocal patterns and verbal elaborations of each participant. In this human-computer duet, a story gets told, but just who is it who is telling the story?


    Based on a Chinese myth, this is a story about a woman who becomes two people and is later reintegrated. In this contradictory paradigm, the reality of fragmentation, loss, alienation and the joy of integration run parallel, neither more true than the other. Voicebox invites participants to place themselves in a paradoxical intersection of several story lines and numerous vocal presences, including their own live voice.


    Full text (PDF) p. 195