of the soone

of the soone
of the soone
 / deep learning ASMR sound work
 / 2017

In this work, artists Sofian Audry and Erin Gee use Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) to translate text generated by a deep learning artificial intelligence system into an intimate, human scale. ASMR videos are a growing genre of aural performance specific to online communities of amateur media creators (ASMRtists) who experiment with aural "triggers" such as whispered words, personal attention, subtle high frequency tapping, and abstract gentle body sounds to soothe the listener into calm and sometimes euphoric states. It is through our tender recordings of Gee's vocalizations of machine performance that we re-embody AI, and give it a physical intimacy through its technological re-mediation as sound.


The algorithmic process featured in this work is a deep recurrent neural network agent known as a "long short term memory" (LSTM) as it processes or “reads” Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The network encounters the book character by character, familiarizing itself with the syntactical universe of the text. As it reads and re-reads the book, it slowly and hesitantly attempts to mimick Brontë’s style within the constraints of its own artificial “body”, hence finding its own alien voice. The revoicing of that speech by a human performer allows the listener to witness the program's journey from syntactical spaces, vowels, and syllables, eventually creating strings of intelligible text that come to generate sentences.


Sofian Audry and Erin Gee