New Collaboration | Melanie Wilson and PRiSM

14 May 2021

Oracle: Animals + Humans + AI

Melanie Wilson, photo by Helen Murray

We are delighted to announce that the multi-disciplinary performance maker Melanie Wilson will be developing new work in partnership with PRiSM and Fuel, as part of Sound and Music’s New Voices Composer programme.

“The question that begins this project is: can a language for sound be created that allows the listener to perceive interdependence with other species, whether poetically or actually?

From this starting point, the form of Oracle has been emerging into a plan for a choral project that uses sound and music to explore the human connection with non-human species. Composed through dialogue between prism-samplernn and an ensemble of human and animal voices, the project is setting out to imagine a form of inter-species communion, through creation of a hybrid human/animal vocality. This uncanny sonic encounter hopes to connect listeners to an expanded understanding of non-human life and intelligence, and the intimate sensation of our precarious co-existence.

This work is a response to the crisis of species extinction, and approaches the processes of machine learning as a way to playfully broaden anthropocentric narratives of intelligence and inter-dependence. Over the next ten months, I’ll work with Dr Christopher Melen and small groups of singers to birth a machine ‘voice’ that sonifies a possible human/animal attunement. I’ll build these fragments and strands into a many-layered system of parts for a twelve-voice ensemble, weaving live and recorded voices together with electronic sound. In early 2022, we hope to share the results of the process in a live performance.”

Header image: Melanie Wilson – Oracle Lines