Language defines what is human. Our specific system of symbolic communication makes it possible to name the world, to exchange concepts, ideas and feelings as well as to provide, obscure or encode information. In the digital era, new technological tools have brought about a profound change in the way information, thoughts and emotions modulate communication and affect the way we think and comprehend reality. How has this emotion-oriented form of language created a fabricated reality and downgraded the importance of facts as the foundation of social and political debate in the construction of opinion and truth? Affected Words takes a critical look at how digital technology is being used to reproduce and disseminate power structures and calls for its emancipation, for critical resistance and self-determination on the part of individuals and the community.
Speech reveals each person’s individual characteristics of language through the use of their voice. Beyond the ability to speak, singing involves a more complex corporal and performance-based dimension that delves into the expressive function of language. But what happens when Saussurian speech (as a complement to language) not only responds to the individual, to the emotional and physical, but also becomes a strategy for collective protest? Being a voice and not merely an echo forms the basis of empowerment against linguistic domestication and thought patterns. This programme’s works fluctuate between the individual and the collective body and explore mechanisms to reveal hierarchical, normative structures, proposing a polyphonic spectrum of the micropolitics of the voice.
The Voice as Performance, Act and Body, Valie Export, 2007, 11 min; Lament, Song for Transitions, Mathilde ter Heijne, 2014, 7 min ; Global Windshield, The Musical, Momu & No Es, 2018, 19 min; We Are the World, as performed by the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions Choirs, Samson Young, 2017, 5 min; Le jour a vaincu la nuit, Jean-Gabriel Périot, 2013, 28 min.
Digital projection. Original language with Spanish subtitles. Copies courtesy of Sixpackfilm, Mathilde ter Heijne, Momu & No Es, Samson Young and Light Cone.
This project was originally commissioned by IMPAKT, Centre for Media Culture, Utrecht, The Netherlands.