Systematical cooling


Eugene Uporov

Русский текст

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In the framework of the project Voice Cooling Tests a laboratory equipped for conducting peculiar experiment called "voice cooling" was constructed and placed at the gallery. In order to understand the meaning of this term you need to observe the processes taking place at this laboratory.

The technological cycle of the laboratory consists of two stages. According to the technical documentation available for exhibition visitors the first stage deals with the extraction task. A voice, an experimental sample, is to be taken or isolated from its source i.e. exhibition visitor, experiment observer. There are specially constructed devices: the Exersiser-activator and the Sieve-stand. They both contain a capsule, a space provided for observer to make direct contact with the device.

During the second stage the experimental sample goes through the devices of artificial cooling: the Deformating-box and the Voicecooler. At this stage the observer is no longer a part of the technological cycle. He or she silently witnesses how the devices produce cooled fragments of experimental sample (voice).

At the laboratory the devices are connected. But taken outside of the laboratory they seem to lose their importance. It would be the opposite if the devices were sculptures. They are linked by the integral functional purpose and their value can be defined from the perspective of their place within the cycle, ergonomics and contribution to the overall task of the experiment.

Production algorithm created at the laboratory was earlier formulated in the project Lost Source Connection by Alice Kern (pic.№1)

Alice Kern, Lost Source Connection (2016).
Hanging steel structure, 8 marker ink pen drawings. Exhibition Фасад. Under construction



The work consisted of two elements: a bundle of wires and hooks and drawings depicting system's breakdown. Drawings depict a formerly unified system made of wires and connecting elements, which then split into disintegrated fragments. The cause of this fragmentation was introduced in the title — the system had broken down because of loss of connection with unidentified source.

Applied algorithm of disconnection and subsequent disintegration is used in the Voice Cooling Tests but now it is applied to such medium as voice.

A voice creates pre-cultural and even pre-human communication connections. The voice is what lets some collective animals unite to survive. This kind of voice connections emerged much earlier than language and language-based culture. That is the reason why non-conventional use of human voice in artistic practices usually refers to prelinguistic and pre-cultural, which in fact means criticism of the cultural layer.

For example, Demetrio Stratos (pic. № 2), Greek artist, multi-instrumentalist.



Demetrio Stratos’ vocal performance. 1970s ( source https://rmrecensionimusicali.files.wordpress.com )

In his vocal performances made in the 1970s fought against voice subjection either to language or to narrative and used extended vocal techniques in order to criticize musical standards established by culture. These techniques were proclaimed as gestures towards freeing the body.

Kern also used voice in her performance Voice Cooling in the Voice Space, 2016. This performance took place inside the installation created by Kern where she interacted with different objects using her voice. Some of the devices, the Preventing-panel and the Voicecooler, were already used in this performance. Obviously, both her performance and the current project is an ongoing, for two years already, artistic research. (pic № 3)



Alice Kern Voice cooling in the voice space. Perfomance. Presented at Salzburg Summer Academy final show of Nora Schultz sculptural course "When Sculptures Walk Out". 2016


While Demetrio Stratos in his performances was talking about culture trap and body liberation, Kern refers to separation from the body. She criticizes body exclusion from the range of other objects that define “identity”. Instead of lost joy of exclusion we are offered a joy of belonging connected with simple phonation.

In Kern’s work refusal to use her own voice happens through addressing the inanimate. During the first stage of the technological cycle we witness the act of dying, the process of voice becoming a landscape fragment, an inanimate object.

In view of the above, the term voice cooling can be understood through the analogy with dead body cooling, whose temperature is gradually matching with the environmental temperature, totally subjecting the body to "collectivity of things" and subsequent unavoidable decay.



Translated by Anastasia Dmitrievskaya

Translation edited by Andrey Muchnik