Cellar Song for Five Voices
Emmett Williams (1968/2021), duration variable
conceived by VIRTUALLYREALITY (MICHAELBRAILEY & Callum Coomber)
made with Laura Ibáñez
performed by SHOAL
In the 1960s, somewhat oracularly, Emmett Williams compiled a poem-come-dataset of systematically shuffled phrases that filtered prescient themes of ecology and nonlocality through the skies and subterranea, bluebirds and blackbirds, life and extinction.
This new adaptation conceived by VIRTUALLYREALITY, performed by SHOAL and coded by Laura Ibáñez feeds this dataset through artificial intelligence and variable autoencoders to create new iterations of the original poem and its performers. Text, deep-learned performers and their voices are systematically outputted at various epochs of the training process, generating a nexus of uncanny identities that reckon with AI’s growing role as key problem-solvers of ongoing ecological collapse.