with Sofia Dona
As part of the Hannsmann-Poethen Literaturstipendium
Macho Sounds / Gender Noise will explore how contemporary perceptions of gender are influenced by artificially produced sounds which are embedded in today’s technologies. A starting point for the project will be the sounds designed by the automobile industry for electric cars of the present and the self-driving cars of the future. Sounds imitating the car engine as well as artificial voices used for GPS systems or AI software are used as existing examples that imply the masculinity of the driver. Taking into consideration forms of gender bias that have been long established, the project will investigate if and how these can be challenged in the era of increased automation. It will discuss the role of design in understanding technologies as patriarchal and will raise questions through feminist and queer perspectives: Can technologies nowadays be reprogrammed in order to avoid the reproduction of stereotypes and prejudices that influence mentalities and behaviours? Which theoretical and hands-on tools can assist in hacking, repairing and using machines so that forms of gender resistance can be empowered?
Following a transversal and transdisciplinary approach, the research for the project will be based on literature review, archival material and field work. It will examine related writings from both literature and academic resources, bringing together science fiction, queer and feminist studies, machine learning, and contemporary art. It will involve planned interviews with sound designers and engineers working at automotive companies, as well as with writers and scholars who have engaged with the topic. It will examine how the impact of gendered technologies is expressed in internet culture with users imitating car sounds or hacking car’s sound design. The outcome of the residency will be a new audiovisual installation which will combine texts, video and sound. A new narration will be created based on original short essays, excerpts from conversations, and archive material. Human voices, machinic sounds, fictional and real stories will all come together inspired by the references, the field work and the urban environment.