Messa di Voce


Golan Levin (US)
Zachary Lieberman (US)
Jaap Blonk (NL)
Joan La Barbara (US)

“Messa di Voce” involves the interplay of language, sounds and graphics. It’s a virtuoso narrative account that interlinks acoustic and visual elements. With it, you can use your words and songs to draw and paint your own pictures!

As in the artists’ earlier works—for example, “RE:MARK” and “Hidden Worlds of Noise and Voice”—their latest project is also a way of making human language visible. To accomplish this, the software by Tmema transforms every vocal nuance into highly expressive graphics that simultaneously serve as elements controlling audio playback.

A computer equipped with a video camera tracks the position of visitors’ heads and, at the same time, analyzes the sounds they make. As a reaction to this information, it projects various graphic compositions onto a screen. With the help of a tracking system, these visualizations can be shown in a way that makes them seem to be emanating from the mouths of the visitors themselves. The graphics are, to a certain extent, not only a visible manifestation of the sounds, but also serve as an interface with which the depicted sounds can be triggered again by the visitor.

“Messa di Voce” received an Honorary Mention in the 2004 Prix Ars Electronica’s Interactive Art category. The extremely well received concert performance of “Messa di Voce” at Ars Electronica 2003 was sponsored by SAP.