Messa di Voce

After the audiovisual installations RE:MARK and Hidden Worlds of Noise and Voice Golan Levin and Zach Lieberman once more realize a project focusing on the visualization of sound and voice. Messa di Voce is a concert performance with the vocal artists Joan La Barbara and Jaap Blonk.

Messa di Voce is a concert performance and creates a fascinating symbiosis of sound and image, real voices and virtual graphics. A software that has been custom-designed for this project converts every vocal nuance into highly expressive real-time graphics with which the singers, in turn, can play. A cycle of interaction that fully integrates the performers and singers into an ambience consisting of sound, virtual 3-D graphics and real-time processing.

The software in Messa di Voce combines a motion tracking system and a speech analysis and projects graphic objects in real-time. Every noise  long and short, high and low notes, shouting, barking, coughing  sound level and intensity have a visual correspondence. The result is the illusion that language and sound are visible.

Messa di Voce does not use any elements of a concrete language; instead, it is completely abstract. The vocal artists Joan La Barbara (US) and Jaap Blonk (NL) will experiment with all possibilities of vocal expression and thus create a space full of sound poetry. In the interaction with the real-time graphics it is possible to tell stories in which reality and virtuality melt. The result is a technically complex and nevertheless enormously playful audiovisual narrative.

The term "messa di voce" ("placing the voice") describes on of the most difficult exercises for singers. One note is sung in a steady crescendo and descrecendo and in piano and forte without leaving the pitch. This as well as intonation and resonance have to stay constant. The difficulty is not to change the tone by altering the sound quality.

Golan Levin: Artist, composer, engineer interested in developing artifacts and events which explore subtle new modes of interactive expression. Levin is primarily engaged in the development of technical systems and software to realize audiovisual installations. He was represented in the Ars Electronica 2001 with his Dialtones Telesymphony. His installations RE:MARK and Hidden Worlds of Noise and Voice (2002) are to be seen in the Ars Electronica Center. He is given an Award of Distinction in the category Net Vision in this year Prix Ars Electronica for his project The Secret Lives of Numbers.

Zachary Lieberman: New York based visual artist and software engineer. Artist in residence in the Ars Electronica Futurelab in 2002. His work emphasizes installations that combine sound localization systems and 3-D projections.

Joan La Barbara: one of the most significant contemporary vocal artists going far beyond the boundaries of traditional vocal art. Worldwide concerts, producer of several recordings of John Cage and Morton Feldman et. al. She premiered works of American composers, Robert Ashley, Philip Glass, Charles Dodge, Morton Subotnick among others. Compositions for dance and film.

Jaap Blonk: composer, vocal artist, sound poet. Work as soloist and collaboration with several ensembles and musicians in the field of contemporary music and improvisation. Founder and leader of the orchestra "Splinks  and the avant-rock trio "BRAAXTAAL. 

Messa di Voce is a project of Tmema by Golan Levin and Zachary Lieberman. Presented on September 7, 2003, 19:30 in the Brucknerhaus Linz.