A Selfless Self in The Nightless Night; Disembodied Voices & Imaginary Friends 

A listening session in two chapters.

As artificial sounds and voices are an intrinsic part of our daily lives, there is still no reproduction of the voice that doesn’t have an outlandish or uncanny feel to it. It’s a pleasure augmented by horror, an old dream accomplished. It’s like being somewhere without really being there, a person without a person, alarm and rapture that is engendered by this miracle.

Chapter 1: Disembodied Voices (45 mins)
A curious selection of disembodied voices; EVP recordings, a talking budgie, automatic telephone answers, speech synthesis and public space announcements. Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) recordings are sound fragments that come from ghost hunters scouring audio tracks for background voices. These distorted sounds exist in the noise of analogue recordings and supposedly provide evidence of paranormal activity. They are eery documents of sounds from beyond but could also be the wishful misinterpretation of the magnetic distortion that recording devices create by themselves. This chapter encourages us to become attuned to the voices that surround us, both literal and paranormal.

Chapter 2: Imaginary Friends (45 mins)
Most of us have experienced interactions and conversations with imaginary friends in early childhood. They are powerful signs of an imaginative mind and a way of learning to understand the world and coping with new or difficult experiences. This chapter departs form the idea of imaginary companions taking a more ambiguous approach on how recorded voice, speech and tone is used by ventriloquists, sound poets and artists.

With recordings by Laurie Anderson, Gregory Whitehead, Hildegard Westerkamp, Alfredo Costa Monteiro, Robert Ashley, Sparkie Williams, Konstantin Raudive, Diana Deutsch, Ernst Jandl, AGF – Antye Greie, Erik Bünger, Laia Estruch, Juan Diego Toblina, Lúa Coderch, Malcolm Clarke (BBC Radiophonic Workshop) and others.

The session is a work in process developed in the residency of BAR project in Barcelona and it’s is open for discussion and feedback for all who attend.

Special thanks to Antonio, August, Urs, Richard JJ, Laia, Lua, Lluis, Lois, Leila, Lola, Aimar and BAR project.

Margit Säde Lehni is an independent curator and artist based in Tallinn and Zurich. In her work she emphasises the self-initiated, collaborative and ongoing nature of art practice. Her recent projects include While Walking on the Secret Paths but also While Walking on Salads at Kumu Art Museum, & SO ON & SO FORTH at Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia and SOURCE AMNESIA at Oslo10, Basel.