Performance & Installation
January 19-21 2018
Our voices help define us: our collective humanity and individual selfhood. Possessing a voice is a symbol of empowerment. Only the privilege can speak in ways which are heard and given credence. Victims are too often silenced: their lack of voice signifying their disempowerment. Voices are fallible, physical things which can fail us by quavering, scratching, or losing pitch when we most need their strength. Contained inside our bodies and concealed from view, two membranes are stretched across the larynx modulating airflow and vibrating to produce sound. This work explores the symbolic and physical power of the human voice by revealing its internal workings, from inside the body of a vocalist.
This performance and installation work externalises the hidden, fleshy and deeply personal workings of the voice from inside a singer’s body. Participants sit across from an opera singer. She wears a laryngoscope, a thin viewing tube which passed through her nose providing real-time video of her vocal chords projected onto the walls of the chamber. She sings and her voice reverberates in the space. Audio is also captured by the laryngoscope from inside the singer’s body and contact mics are placed on her skin capturing the sounds of lungs inhaling and exhaling, and other internal organs gurgling with their everyday functions. Participants can blend these internal audio signals and amplify them into the chamber using a controller. By externalising these intimate, internal mechanisms in an exaggerated and overwhelming sonic and visual experience, participants are asked to confront the contradictions of our voices: who gets to wield them and what that means for our humanity.
Vocal Womb is a multimedia opera performance and installation externalising the hidden, fleshy and deeply personal workings of the voice from inside a singer’s body
Concept / Music / Performance: Eve Klein
Performance: AñA Wojak
Quinn Eades (2015), All the Beginnings: A Queer Autobiography of the Body, Tantanoola, North Melbourne.
Virginia Barratt (2017) mMouth hHouse pPanic cCathedral.
Technical Development: Ravi Glasser-Vora and Eve Klein.
Photography: Ravi Glasser-Vora.
Promotional Images: Eve Klein and Ravi Glasser-Vora.
Funding & Support
The work has been assisted by the APRA AMCOS Art Music Fund, the University of Queensland’s School of Music, and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. Vocal Womb was conceived through the SITUATE: Art in Festivals professional development program and SITUATE are providing ongoing administrative support.
Image by Eve Klein & Ravi Glasser-Vora