Sound Work—"Social Justice for All for Some"

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Dean Brink, Tamkang University

#TCVol4Brink

 


About This Work

The idea for this piece came when attempting to explore the effects of repetition of phrases that are in danger of becoming meaningless clichés, in this case making a statement in the driest of voices: computer-generated ones in English, French, and German. I originally planned to use a text-to-speech program, but after testing the Google Translation voices I decided to try them. The limitation I found was that the voices for non-European languages are not kept as current and polished as the European ones, which sounded very neutral (so proper almost uptight) and full of expected intonation that naturalizes the repeated phrases. This plays against the defamiliarizing effects of the synthesizer and collaged recordings.
 
The collage in effect attempts to present the fact of inequality under capitalism and its production of poverty to enrich the few while destroying the material security of lives as lived under neoliberalism, where "the market" is deemed to have authoritative (but elusive) agency. As people accept this subjection to capital a regular disavowal of human (and nonhuman) life occurs, breaking the social contract and care for our communities. The dissonant synthesizer intends to express this sentiment. In the process of editing, a connection to ecological concerns arose (due to extreme air pollution blowing across the Taiwan Strait), leading me to include summer mountain cicadas.
 
This experimental track features various multi-layered digitally synthesized analog synthesizer melodies (using a Korg Volca Beat run through a "KingKorg" synthesizer), sounds of subway doors closing as recorded in Osaka, mountain cicada recorded in nearby Yangmingshan National Park, as well as synthetic voices in several languages. This work combines my love of keyboards and conceptual art with my ongoing work in poetry and spoken word recording. Comments and questions are very welcome: interpoetics at gmail dot com
 

 

Sound Work: "Social Justice for All for Some"

 

Biography

Dean Brink's work in sound oscillates between experiments with harmony and rhythms (atonal, jazz, dance genres) and experiments with analogue and digital synthesizers, vocoders, and sound collage. His other creative outlets are writing and publishing poetry and some science fiction. He lives with his family in Tamsui, Taiwan, where he is an associate professor of English Literature at Tamkang University, Taiwan. His work in cultural studies explores political dimensions in American and Japanese-language poetry (which he also writes). He is making a film about Taiwanese who compose tanka poetry in Japanese. He may be reached at: interpoetics at gmail dot com, and his blog is interpoetics.blogspot.com.

 

© 2014 Dean Brink, used by permission


Technoculture Volume 4 (2014)