vocal tract / black hole / vent shaft (part I), Diogo Tudela at the Gnration

Diogo Tudela (Porto), programmer, researcher and visual artist, with an artistic practise focused on theoretical fiction, speculative computing and simulation and mechatronics practices, presents his latest project, entitled tract / black hole / vent shaft, composed of two video pieces modelled by sound and a physical sound installation, at the Gnration, in Braga, until October 3. Alongside the exhibition, the gallery made available an online mini-documentary where we get to know more about the artist and the works on display.

The emergence of the new media is a consequence of two narratives developed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, in particular the history of computing and the analogue storage devices, which resulted from the tech breakthroughs. For instance, the emergence of personal computers, the Internet, the commercialisation of the means of recording and reproducing images and sounds, and the massification and manipulation of information. New Media, according to Lev Manovich, one of the most prominent researchers in this field, states in The Language of New Media (2001) that “it is Internet sites, 2D and 3D modelling and animation, virtual reality, multimedia, computer games, interactive installations, digital video, cinema and human-computer interfaces”. vocal tract / black hole / vent shaft is an exhibition project in the field of New Media Art, a term to designate artistic practices that use the new digital media, introducing themes and concepts of pop culture and media, in a critical and self-referential approach. An art world system focused on the creative and social possibilities of new technologies.

Throughout the exhibition, we are guided by the sound and light of projectors, computers and electronic devices. In the first room, we have the vsss (vocal sphincteral sound system), from 2020. It is a six-channel sound installation, created through a guttural voice, specialised in a circular movement and manipulated in real-time by two wax discs, akin to saggy skin, placed on two rotating record players. In it, robotic arms explore the surface in a non-linear way, interpreting its chromatic information through sensors. At the same time, a computer shows us code being executed, reminding us of the path of the information, from its digitisation to its materialisation in a sound landscape. In the same place, we have the oral-anal video wormhole (2020): a digitally shaped tube of human tissue floating on a projection screen. Finally, in room two is the video installation voice the constructor (2020), placed on a wooden and metal surface, created with excerpts of erotic and pornographic films, where voices and images are temporally manipulated. The bodies and sounds are sucked into a kind of black hole in an abstract movement.

Anthropologist David Le Breton, in “The Body as an Accessory to Presence: Notes on Man’s Obsolescence” (2004) explores the idea of “the end of the body”. Cyberculture currents that picture a humanity that navigates only in cyberspace, ideologies where we will all be machines. The artist Stelarc believes that the body has become obsolete in the new technological context, something exemplified by his latest creation Reclining StickMan (2020). Le Breton also concludes that “if man does not exist except through the body forms that place him in the world, any modification of such form implies a different definition of his humanity. (…) Thinking about the body is another way of thinking about the world”. vocal tract / black hole / vent shaft allows for reflection on the body as a fragment, abstraction, or algorithm. And also the voice and speech, approaching the vocal phenomenon through the black hole’s topology, thus adding to the discussion about the contemporary technological and media reality.

Ana Martins (Porto, 1990) PhD student at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, holds a master’s degree in Art Studies – Museum and Curatorial Studies at FBAUP, with the dissertation “O Cinema Exposto – Entre a Galeria e o Museu: Exposições de Realizadores Portugueses (2001-2020)” and graduated in Cinema from the ESTC of the IPL and in Heritage Management from the ESE of the IPP. She was a researcher at the Projeto CHIC – Cooperative Holistic view on Internet Content, supporting the integration of artist films into the National Cinema Plan and the creation of content for the FBAUP Online Catalog of Films and Videos by Portuguese Artists. She also received a scholarship from inED – Center for Research and Innovation in Education, providing support in the areas of production, communication and advice on cultural events. She collaborates in the field of Art Direction in cinema, television and advertising. She is one of the founders and curators of Coletivo Hera. She writes for Umbigo magazine.

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