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Saturday March 16 | Session 10:30 - 12:15 (20 min) De Brakke Grond | Rode Zaal
Since the invention of Wolfgang von Kempelen’s ‘speaking machine’ in 1769, technology has increased the agency of the voice, gradually freeing it from the body decade by decade. Today, programmes such as Lyrebird.ai and VocaliD exist, capable of convincing vocal mimicry, replicated almost perfectly the vocal qualities of prominent figures such as Donald Trump and Barack Obama. These voices are symptomatic of this ‘post-truth’ era, a hybrid of fiction and reality. One can recognise the body to whom they belong(ed), and yet, have the potential of fiction to spread great influence without a body to bear consequence, belonging perpetually in the realm of performance, rupturing the real with their interjections.  

Taking these artificially recreated voices as my subject, I propose to deliver a performance lecture in the form of a manifesto, set in an imagined future where collective individualism has become the norm and our technologies speak for us.

Examining the present-as-past, I will draw upon the history of the disembodied voice from the cinema to its contemporary manifestation in our everyday lives through technological advancement and dependency. Examining these notions through the subversive qualities of the manifesto as both dialogue and monologue, belonging both to the voice of one and the voice of the many, I wish to explore the voice as symbolic of the post-truth world within which we now live, advocating the act of listening as a potential way of returning the voice to the body, and subsequently, the self.

Jacqueline Duan is an Australian writer and editor. She has previously completed a BA in English Literature at Durham University and recently received an MA from the Royal College of Art in Critical Writing in Art and Design, where she wrote an experimental thesis studying the proliferation of artificial prosthetic and cosmetic voices, gauging the potential outcomes of this contemporary phenomena through a series of fictionalised dialogic texts. Jacqueline was the inaugural writer-in-residence for Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop in 2018 and continues to practice ways of creatively engaging critical thinking and philosophy through her writing.
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