Bentivegna’s research explores what humans could get from and how humans relate with those voices and what those voices could represent in performance. Fluctuating between paradoxes of conscious AIs, voice synthesis and listening theory, as well as political issues of control and capitalist consumerism, Bentivegna has written a brief dystopic monologue for synthetic voice, presented in a video format.
The speaker is an archetype of all the algorithmic voices that have been haunting humans during the lockdown: diet apps, social media posts, workout programmes and virtual assistants.
Bentivegna has previously worked with synthetic voices in many different ways including live music, performance research and theatre. The video format of ‘You Are Not Done Yet’ allows him to mix a silenced human figure with an artificial/synthetic voice ‘in-control’.
The juxtaposition of the two enhances the feeling of an overwhelming abundance of inputs, compared to the lack of time and control. The artist works closely with audio-engineer and musician Alessio Festuccia, who was responsible for audio mixing and audio editing. The monologue is composed with lines taken from YouTube, Amazon offers, adverts and other social media outputs that he has seen during the lockdown.
Spending my lockdown completely isolated, as numerous others have, the only company I might get is from either projected voices and images of my family, friends and colleagues or, more intrusively and frequently, from algorithms. They are somehow, increasingly running the lives of some of us. With my project I would like to highlight how dealing with algorithms is even more overwhelming during the COVID-19 outbreak, especially for lonely people. Self-isolating individuals are stuck in a loop, where living habits are apparently regulated by those algorithms. However, these machines were and will be companions in my lockdown: a synthetic family of projected identities.