There are the artists that present work, which emulates their construction from behind the eyes, recreating what has intrinsically formed within. Others look for reference points, research antidotes and analogies to combine art to circumstance. And then there are the artists that do both, artists like Erin Gee. “I explore questions through creation, it’s very intuitive. I try to create things with a lot of space so that the viewer can articulate their own experience.”
Key to note in the ‘Voice of Echo’ exhibit, currently showing at gallerywest, is the link between listening and sound and the translation between voice and eye.
“It all started with my research into new media theory, as I saw recurrent references to new media technologies as being narcissist. Even in the psychological field, narcissist disorders are being studied in correlation to usage of social media and online representation and communication. I decided to read into the original myth of Narcissus in Ovid’s Metamorphosis and discovered this other character, Echo, and wondered, why don’t we talk about Echo in contemporary society? Why is there so much attention paid towards narcissism, which is based on visual feedback and not a corresponding term for aural feedback, which relates to the Echo character? So I invented my own version of the story,” explains Gee.
The character of Echo is not literal, but the representation of Echo permeates her composition and assimilation through visual soundscapes. It’s a temporal-spatial experience. Examining the silence of Echo’s voice, Erin Gee has taken digital data and stills and reentered such into audio data eventually plastering an image that has been fed through a machine of reverberated distortion. Who echo is and the memory of her is even more intriguing. She is impressionable.
“I don’t see myself in these pieces at all. Echo’s performances are for the technology, she performs for the camera; she exists in digital memory.”
Viewers will also notice a ratio of mirror to echo patchwork in this exhibit. “After some analysis I found that what makes mirrors and echoes different is that echoes are an articulation of distance, which can awaken both desire and an uncanny strangeness. Mirrors on the other hand are more self-directed and seductive, you can get close to your mirror reflection, you can’t get close to an echo because it disappears as reverb. There are a lot of mirrors and echoes in this exhibition,” Gee furthers.
So, what inspires Erin Gee? “I love things that are totally new, that seem like they can only be made with today’s technologies, today’s perspectives on the world. I’m also really interested in voices and singing. I was trained in opera so I’ve always had a really complex and invested relationship in my voice. I’m particularly inspired by the newest software for synthetic vocal creation called VOCALOID, put out by Krypton Future Media in Japan.”
Watching and absorbing the digitally enhanced sensations allows for a digestion of re-construed media generating one’s own connection to the work. This connection pins together allusions with mixed-media with that of visual articulations; yet still the path is investigative. Voice of Echo is one of those showings where it’s easier to see than say – so see it if you can.
Voice of Echo runs until January 27th at gallerywest. You can find more of Erin Gee’s work at http://www.eringee.net.
Also take note of her upcoming performance at Nuit Blanche in Montreal on February 26th, which will feature work based on the silent larynx drawings in this exhibition.
“Voice of Echo synthesizes the characters of Echo and Narcissus into a single body and enjoins the iconic with the physical… By virtue of a kind of synaesthetic remapping, Gee enacts a series of givings: icon to presence, sound to sight, Echo to Narcissus, image to music. “
- G. Douglas Barrett