Technological Infiltration

This 53 second audio piece was deeply inspired by George Orwell’s book 1984, which I was reading while developing the idea for this work.  I was also reading up on theories of ideology by such critical thinkers as Marx, Althusser, Judith Butler and others.

The spoken words/phrases were constructed by following an adapted cut-up method of William S. Burroughs and are derived from one issue of Megaphone Magazine (Megaphone is a magazine sold on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria by homeless and low-income vendors).

As I was playing around with the cut-up method, I wasn’t sure at first what my intention was but what emerged from my selected cut-ups was a message from a leader that invasively reaches its citizens. The idea of an omnipresent government and a future fraught with problems and fear was foremost in my mind. With the collaged and superimposed sounds I aimed to create a disconcerting image and feeling in the listener’s mind, and to present technology as intrusion.

In the book 1984, a political novel, the leading party creates a new language called Newspeak. Language was used as a way to control and limit people’s thoughts and individuality. So my thoughts in this project also turned to the power of words and autonomy in one’s life and within contemporary society. This quote by theorist Zygmunt Bauman is an example of some of the cultural theories I was encountering in my reading:

 Truth is, in other words, a social relation (like power, ownership or freedom): an aspect of a hierarchy built of superiority-inferiority units…an aspect of the hegemonic form of domination. The part of the world that adopted modern civilization as its structural principle and constitutional value was bent on dominating the rest of the world by dissolving its alterity and assimilating the product of dissolution.

Media Notes: created with Garage Band, a software in the MAC system. The man answering the phone and the applause at the end are loops available in the software. Other background sounds came from environmental recordings I made with my cell phone in the past. I recorded my own voice with Garage Band and used some effects to modify it.