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Comments on Mark Amerika's PHON:E:ME


Eugene Thacker



Institution Walker Art Center
A large part of so-called interactive services on the web are, despite the high-tech ergonomics of computer and interface design, actually very intimate technologies; the porn industry, IRC, CU-SeeMe, webcams, and other web-tech have shown us how a safe distance of immediacy in bodies can be aided by a transparent technology. Mark Amerika's phon:e:me, explores this region, with the main difference that what is emphasized in phon:e:me, is the simultaneous immediacy and the total mediation of the voice's body.

Like the tradition of avant-gardist inquires into the sonority and primacy of the voice (Hugo Ball, Kurt Schwitters, the Lettrists), Amerika takes the voice as a network of sounds, always struggling but never quite able to reach the outside of language. Like the tradition of electro-accoustic inquiries into the technical manipulation of voice (Pierre Henry, Henri Chopin), the "natural" voices in phon:e:me, are never prior to or separate from the digital technologies used to cut and recombine them.

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Type: commentary
Source: Eugene Thacker, Comments on Mark Amerika's PHON:E:ME, 1999.
Rights: Eugene Thacker, 1999. First published by Gallery 9/Walker Art Center for PHON:E:ME.
Added to Site: March 1, 2009