The Digital Voice Lab in Paris

Bodies On Stage: Acting Confronting Technologies conferenceAs June busts out across the European Union, I have just joined fellow Digital Dramaturgy Lab member Sebastian Samur in a hot and humid Paris, France to co-present a paper at the Bodies On Stage: Acting Confronting Technologies conference held at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3. Our presentation — Moi qui parle à moi-même dans le numérique / Auditory Alienation and Liberation for the Intermedial Performer — documents the results of our recent Digital Voice Lab experiments — a component of Sebastian’s ongoing Voice Exchange forum at The Centre For Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (University of Toronto), in which we explored the creative and dramaturgical potential of actors working with electronic voice modulation (a.k.a. ‘voice mask’) tools — such as pitch-shifting and time delay —to develop new characters or (alternatively) new approaches to performing well-known characters, such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Here is Sebastian explaining our digital ‘voice mask’ research (in French) during a conference break.

Speed, meditation, time & technology

As rumours begin to spread about the approach of summer, the University of Toronto’s Digital Dramaturgy Lab (DDL) has been presenting Stare. Print. Blue. (Voyeuring the apparatus)a durational and intermedial performance environment — over three days in the ‘Pleasure Room’ at Digifest Toronto 2015. Stare. Print. Blue. is a meditative provocation of slowness in an age of rapidly intensifying acceleration. As an immersive and technologically mediated environment, it seeks to challenge the endurance capabilities of a single performer by forcing concentration on absolute slowness of movement, while focusing the viewer’s attention on experiences of time as mediated by and through digital technology. 

My soundscape design focused specifically on creating an immersive and meditative listening space with a dual function — first, as means of encouraging a meditative experiencing of ‘slowness’ within viewer perception, and second, as a audio-temporal framework capable of helping the solo performer maintain both the slow pacing of their physical movements and their mental focus for the duration of their experience within the installation space.

The ‘DDL@Digifest’ collaborative team includes Antje Budde, Nazli Ahktari, Monty Martin, Michael Reinhart, William J Mackwood, Karyn McCallum, Alfred Renaud, Don Sinclair, and (myself) Richard Windeyer.