The Voice Observatory is a laboratory of investigation into phenomena related to the voice in its acoustic, informative, performative, and socio-political dimensions. At The Voice Observatory we bring sound installations, theoretical presentations, panel discussions, and performances into a common platform where artistic works and theoretical concepts related to the voice can enter into a productive dialogue.
The Voice Observatory understands voice in a wide and generic sense as an acoustic space in which physical and affective habits of communication and perception can be transformed. In order to facilitate an observation and analysis of the voice as we understand it, we have created three formats for acoustic analysis and experience:
We conceive these formats as tools that can generate questions beyond any given artistic, theoretical, or educational intention. They are also The Voice Observatory’s mobile unit, one designed to situate itself within the working space of various cultural and scientific institutions. In this sense, we aim to renew given dynamics of thought, emotion and perception, and create research in the twilight zone that exists between the discourse of science and humanities.
The Voice Observatory aims at locating zones of acoustic knowledge that remain normally inaccessible to our perception and experience. Our formats delineate — in three different dispositions — the coordinates for the appearance of this unattended knowledge. The operations at the heart of our three formats involve in one way or another an act of subtraction. It is in this act of subtraction where a different encounter, experience and production of knowledge can occur.
Since the begining of 2015 The Voice Observatory has activated a wide international network of artists and scholars belonging to different fields. This network has translated into a conceptual framework capable of generating questions beyond any given artistic, theoretical, or educational content and intention.
The Voice Observatory was launched at Errant Bodies Project Space and Exploratorium Berlin and at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) in Karlsruhe. The Voice Observatory was also part of Transmediale & CTM Vorspiel 2015 and the Jan van Eyck Association Annual Event.
The Voice Observatory was kindly supported by Bezirksamt Pankow Berlin, INM Initiative für Neue Musik Berlin, Errant Bodies Berlin, Berliner Gesellschaft für Neue Musik.
Professionals who have participated in The Voice Observatory until now:
Tomomi Adachi, Antonis Anissegos, Mario Asef, Ricarda Denzer, Alessandra Eramo, Ernesto Estrella, Marcus Gammel, Christian Kesten, Georg Klein, Miako Klein, Brandon LaBelle, Ines Lechleitner, Sven Spieker, Annette Stahmer, Imogen Stidworthy, Antje Vowinckel, Bettina Wackernagel, Steffi Weismann, Kathrin Wildner
Ernesto Estrella / Mario Asef
Ernesto Estrella Cózar is an educator, poet, and musician born in Granada who has lived in New York between 2000-2012. He completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University, and between 2007 and 2011 he was assistant professor of Contemporary Poetry at Yale University’s Spanish and Portuguese department. Since the spring of 2012 he has turned to Berlin as a second base for his artistic and academic work. As a musician, he concentrates on the voice’s potential to explore the poetic process through sound. In this vein, he has created a wide array of performances that have been presented at international festivals in Argentina, Uruguay, Austria, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Russia, Finland, Latvia and the U.S. Since his arrival to Berlin, he has been teaching seminars at Potsdam University. Moreover, in 2014 he launched The Voice Observatory, along with sound and conceptual artists Mario Asef and Brandon LaBelle. Funded by Berlin’s Senate, this laboratory of investigation offers regular seminars, workshops and performances related to the voice in its acoustic, communicative, performative, and socio-political dimensions. Most recently, his work in cultural management and civic education has led to the creation of the Nomadic School of the Senses.
Mario Asef studied architecture and art in Argentina, Germany, and England. His work has been exhibited worldwide, most recently at Quartier 21 (Vienna), Kühlhaus Berin (Berlin), Junge Kunst e.V. (Wolfsburg, Germany), Kasa Galerie (Istanbul), Abandoned Gallery (Malmö, Sweden) SSamzie Space (Seoul), Nouvel Organon (Paris). Recent museum exhibitions include Hamburger Kunsthalle, Villa Merkel, Kunstlerhaus Bregenz (Austria), and the Akademie der Künste Berlin. His videos, photographs, sound installations, and interventions in public space deal with architectonic as well as sociopolitical questions and confront issues related to their spatial representability. With a detached sense of irony they seek to make legible the “immaterial, invisible” architecture of the social sphere.