Messa di Voce (Ital., “placing the voice”) is an audiovisual performance in which the speech, shouts and songs produced by two abstract vocalists are radically augmented in real-time by custom interactive visualization software. The performance touches on themes of abstract communication, synaesthetic relationships, cartoon language, and writing and scoring systems, within the context of a sophisticated, playful, and virtuosic audiovisual narrative.
The software transforms every vocal nuance into correspondingly complex, subtly differentiated and highly expressive graphics. These visuals not only depict the singers’ voices, but also serve as controls for their acoustic playback. While the voice-generated graphics thus become an instrument which the singers can perform, body-based manipulations of these graphics additionally replay the sounds of the singers’ voices — thus creating a cycle of interaction that fully integrates the performers into an ambience consisting of sound, virtual objects and real-time processing.
Messa di Voce lies at an intersection of human and technological performance extremes, melding the unpredictable spontaneity and extended vocal techniques of two master composer-improvisers with the latest in computer vision and speech analysis technologies. Utterly wordless, yet profoundly verbal, Messa di Voce is designed to provoke questions about the meaning and effects of speech sounds, speech acts, and the immersive environment of language.