Voice” is a video installation that uses visuals and sound collected from Werkleitz and Tornitz to explore aspects of communication, language and translation.
The work questions the truth and accuracy of translation. When we follow subtitles on a film, or read a translated novel, we make the assumption that this is a voice of truth and authority, much as we accept the news or a documentary programme. But what if this voice is not telling the truth? Unless the reader/viewer understands both languages, then s/he is forced to make a leap of faith and trust the translator. Translation is perhaps the epitome of subjectivity. Communication that takes place in one language is already full of multiple interpretations and misunderstandings, but communication becomes even more fraught and fractured when translation is involved. A translator may be sparse or florid, literal or poetic – how close will we ever be able to get to the original meaning?
„Voice” is also about abstraction. Take away meaning in conversation and what are we left with? Sound. If one does not understand the language that is being spoken then it quickly becomes a collage of abstract noises and textures. In this way, not understanding a language can be liberating, in that one no longer has to, (or indeed is able to), concentrate on the content of that dialogue. The sound itself takes over. When one understands a language then it becomes extremely difficult to abstract from it in this way.
Jessica Curry has used a sampler to manipulate the sounds that she has recorded. Words are split and re-joined, transforming the „truth” and meaning of conversations.
„Voice” works on two levels; as a socio-political document that catalogues a very particular time and place, and as a piece of digital art that combines sound and image.
Jessica Curry (GB), Voice, 1998