The locus of the conversation will be Johanna Hedva’s GLUT: a superabundance of nothing, a sound work composed with divination and AI, which manifests as both an immersive physical installation now on view at HKW Berlin in Illiberal Arts, and as a free video game that can be downloaded at glut.website. The core of GLUT is a sound composition made entirely of Hedva’s voice, ranging from its rawest expression of screams, to two AI vocal clones that, in order to trick the surveillance tactics embedded in AI, have been manipulated to sound ever more de-human. These voices speak a text corpus that Hedva built over four lunar cycles, and synthesized through various divination techniques. The corpus is composed of the writings of medieval mystics (mostly of the apophatic tradition); theoretical physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers on black holes, dark matter, night, and nothingness; poets and novelists on sleep, music, and the voice; and the algorithm of amazon.com.
The physical installation of GLUT spatializes the sound in a subtly eerie, immersive room, large enough for one person only, a little pocket of a universe that amplifies the limits of the body by simultaneously erasing them. In the GLUT videogame, users are a teratoma avatar that drags itself through an environment cheating at non-Euclidean geometry through a series of nesting black holes, intestinal tunnels, glittering caves, and oceans of black water.
Hedva and Staff will use GLUT to orbit around Hedva’s recent book Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain, and their new album, Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House, which form a web of inquiry into the proposal that doom is a liberatory (and libratory) condition. There will be specific focus on corporeal ambivalence, collapse and surrender, and whether Amazon, in predicting our desires and shaping our future, is our latest divining tool, a kind of contemporary mysticism.
This talk is available to view from Wednesday 20 October 2021 for free.