The human voice can convey a vast array of feelings, thoughts and messages. The evaluation and training of our voice can help us adopt the attitude required according to certain circumstances. Voice Booth is an interactive tool that trains users to act in real life,through their voice. It can be examined under the prism of our increasingly digitally enhanced social life, exploring the optimisation of the human as a social species through technology.
An easily controllable visual feedback of how one sounds like, assesses the voice in accordance with certain norms associated with social life, while exercising our judgment on the different circumstances and the conventions they go with. The interplay of the digital world and identity has resulted in the formation of chameleonic personas. In this context, social operations need to be examined through the practical operations of technology. Voice Booth takes advantage of our intuition and the skills that humans have lately gained by using digital interfaces and dealing with information. It helps control the output of our larynx using vision as a mediator. In this way, voice becomes more flexible, adjustable to the circumstances and finally, meaningful.
The concept of delivering bad news is employed as an experimental situation where the Voice Booth is put to use to “engineer” the optimum voice for an unfortunate occasion. A workshop took place as an experiment that dealt with the progress of the participants, while enabling an observation on how people handle social situations; medical students from the Imperial College where asked to break the news of the death of someone and HR managers were trained to fire people with sympathy. People were asked to perform twice: first using their understanding of the situation and their acting skills, then once again putting the Voice Booth to use. Pulse is not required to perform the task; empathy turns into a mechanised expression of emotions in a scenario where the “wrong” voice is unforgivable.
Appearances: Transmediale 2015, Athens Video Art 2015, SXSW 2014 Interactive awards, Core77 Awards, FACT Foundation for Art & Creative Technology, Victoria & Albert Museum at London Design Festival, MoMA Talks, Marianne Brandt Awards
Imperial College, Faculty of Medicine
Aleksandra Wozniak, store manager at Scotch and Soda
Deborah Louise Grant, HR Manager at IMG Artists
Code: Panagiotis Tigkas
Voice Coach: Ysabel Clare
Camera: Emma Dalesman