Airopera – A breathing dystopia
Feb 26, 18:30
A breathing dystopia or the sonification of social distancing
Masks have been present in our species history since a long time ago.
First as an aesthetic symbol that inflicts respect and fear, evolving into
different motifs that announced peculiar messages. These conventions
changed in the XVII century, when these artefacts started to be used
with medical purposes.
In our days, a mask is a charged symbol during the pandemic,
referencing the different ways that an item of prophylaxis can be
politicised in the face of an airborne pathogen.
The mask distorts the voice and is an item of human synthesis, that is
to say, it is a technological device that changes the expressions of the
Here, we have connected four masks through electronic-analogue
amplification systems by sending the outputs from a microphone
situated inside each mask to a speaker system mounted outside of a
different mask. One microphone to a mask linked in series, in a daisy
chain. When a source of output is exposed to its own input, a feedback
loop is created, which focuses and amplifies resonant signals.
The voice, which comes out of the face of an individual who is
wearing a mask in this particular technological inter-connexion, is the
sound of the person in the matrix to their immediate right hand side.
The amplified voice can be silenced, magnified, distorted and
exaggerated into feedback. That is, the proximity of the sound can be
made more or less, closer or further away, more or less intimate.
The feedback analogy reverberates with our current circumstances,
in which our survival is linked to our adjacency and the alteration of
the contemporary human relationships: to stay separated, in order to
prevail and avoid Covid-19 feedbacks.