Composer: Charlie Looker
Choreographer: Dages Juvelier Keates, Amanda Turner Pohan
Performer: Katy Pinke
Vocalists: Daisy Press, Megan Schubert
Flautists: Kelley Barnett, Isabel Gleicher
Dancers: Dages Juvelier Keates, Amanda Turner Pohan
Broadcast 5pm February, 4, 2021
Direct Youtube Link
EMPAC and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College present Alexa Echoes, a film in the mode of a chamber opera by visual artist Amanda Turner Pohan in collaboration with composer Charlie Looker, choreographer Dages Juvelier Keates, and performer Katy Pinke.
The first iteration in a series of three performances, Alexa Echoes recasts the relationship between cultural movements and commercial technologies through the history of women’s devocalization and disembodiment. It begins with mythical Greek figures, such as Echo, and leads up to Amazon’s smart speaker and digital voice-based assistant for Alexa, also named Echo. Produced after travel restrictions and social distancing measures were implemented at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the film combines footage shot in the empty spaces of EMPAC with recordings from the collaborators’ homes and remote studios.
In this film, EMPAC is concurrently the site of production, the setting, and the subject that surround three manifestations of the voice: candid, staged, and disembodied. As in much of Pohan’s interdisciplinary oeuvre, the film looks at the body’s complicated relationship to technology as it relates to autonomy, animation, and the melismatic sound of breath. Alexa Echoes incorporates movement, speech, and an orchestral score to abstract the gendered decisions that frame new media technologies, gesturing to the corporate entities which choreograph them.
The film will be released on EMPAC’s website accompanied by a text version of the project’s script. Alexa Echoes was developed as part of a residency at EMPAC organized by Muheb Esmat, Marisa Espe, Bergen Hendrickson, Ciena Leshley, Ana Lopes, Liz Lorenz, Brooke Nicolas, Elizaveta Shneyderman, and Rachel Vera Steinberg from Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies class of 2020, working with EMPAC curator Vic Brooks.