Neža Knez

Faces of voices

Faces of voices, 2015, video installation (with 10 monitors), 1.20s

We have to learn how to speak but to learn something we first need to have the idea of it.

The thought of what will be said influences the face expression, our body language, the tone of our voice… The voice forms our body language, our body language expresses what was said. Frequently, however,  it comes to incompatibility of person’s thought  and  its expression.

I asked ten people to slowly and clearly pronounce Slovene alphabet as if talking to deaf person and, without them being aware of it, I video recorded them when speaking. Seeing adult people trying to distinctly pronounce the alphabet as if learning it for the first time, seems odd, somehow bizarre. They are focusing on something we usually do completely automatically.

They start to talk simultaneously but due to their own rhythm the synchronicity eventually collapses. The new rhythm is maintained, however, new harmonious polyphony.  Each person, its portrait and voice, is played on its own monitor.  When looking distantly at those ten monitors placed side by side, people seem as choir members, one after another finishing their stanzas in silence. But if we get closer to each monitor, its voice and its facial expression stand out from before integral whole. Each person’s focus on spoken is visible; preparation of the body, focus on adequate articulation. Here and there we notice individual essence, always present but only sometimes visible. Unspoken voice is seen before it is actually said.

 

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