Synopsis Seriation

Florian Hecker (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

Abstract / Description of output

Synopsis Seriation, Hecker's latest release with Editions Mego, draws upon current research in machine listening and music information retrieval, where the 'ghosts in the machine' are unsupervised, engineered operators designed to extract auditory features from a signal. The album advances a general research programme Hecker initiated through various projects. In A Script for Machine Synthesis (EMEGO 226, 2017), the third chapter in the trilogy of text- sound pieces in collaboration with Reza Negarestani, both a resynthesized and a computer- generated voice modelled after the narrators voice, reflect on systems of language, automatons and chimerized synthesis. Articulação Sintetico (EMEGO 180C, 2017) — a complete resynthesis of Articulação (EMEGO 180, 2014) — features synthetic voice models of Joan La Barbara, Sugata Bose and Anna Kohler. Central to Inspection II (EMEGO 268 / UF047, 2019) is a bespoke computer-generated voice, reciting Robin Mackay's libretto — by means of deep neural networks and machine listening computation, perpetually crossing formal anticipations of sound analysis to the unexpected artefacts of synthesis.

Synopsis Seriation does away with such staging of computer-generated speech. It dramatises synthetic sound in all its unnameable intensities and detail by transforming four multichannel pieces Hecker produced since 2015. These have been analysed, dissected and reconstructed utilising information geometry, a subfield of mathematics at the interaction between statistics and differential geometry, designed by Vincent Lostanlen. Similarities and logical segmentation, partly accessible to the human listener, partially exclusive to virtual listening agents, open a dialogue with these spectral operators. Moving between analysis and synthesis, they render audible their intelligence signature, the signal trace of their nonhuman brain-ear, between discriminative and generative models. This newly seriated arrangement of Synopsis Seriation further abstracts and detours the appearance of specific motifs, sequences and characters, into a hallucinatory gaze. Remembrance of what has just been heard, in which formulation and mode of synthesis continually navigate between sensible and highly formulated registers. Resembling George Seurat's perception of the Seine, Synopsis Seriation is a streamlined, structured whole. Yet, by embracing time, succession, and sound as an immaterial, its multitude of auditory perspectives and encoded logic challenges a traditional synoptical overview of analytical architecture and resynthesized sensation.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEditions Mego
Media of outputCD
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2021


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