Whistleblowers (2020)

Site-specific sound installation
with electro-acoustic aeolian string-drum-horns


Whistleblowers is originally conceived as an outdoor sonic installation of a subtle political intervention. The work draws on three instances of whistleblowing, one mythical and two contemporary, which each make its public aware of being manipulated by those in power. Text from these three sources (see below) are edited to play upon their semantic, sonic and aesthetic qualities of whistleblowing. These generated words are then sonified through machine learning algorithms and further transduced onto the atmospheric sensitivity of aeolian string instruments. Seven electro-acoustic string-drum-horns transform, amplify and chant uncomfortable revelations, warning whistles and announcement signals. These instruments are tuned to a Phrygian Greek Aulos mode, and resonate the natural elements and artificial voices in a spatialized and slightly chaotic constellation. What results is a blending of tuned whispers of the wind with electro-acoustically amplified political voices; a polyphony of wind and strings, acoustic and electronic, in which contemporary secrecies find an echo.

Present Circumstances
In the context of the Dystopie Sound Art Festival 2020, the iteration exhibited indoors in Alte Münze gallery (Berlin) is not the ideal condition for experiencing this work, especially given that it deals critically and aesthetically with free public access to inconvenient truths. Despite tireless and repeated efforts by the festival's production team over the course of the last months, the Deutsches Bahn bureaucrats refused to permit the installation of the work in the originally proposed location under Jannowitzbrücke. We are nevertheless very thankful for the Dystopia Festival production team, particularly Georg Klein, for their encouragement, flexibility and belief in our project. Presented here is a windless single-channel version of the work, supplemented by design drafts of the original installation plan.

Source Texts
The tale of King Midas, Ovid, Metamorphoses. Book 11

Jon Doe's’ Manifesto
Edward Snowden, 'A manifesto for the truth'