The Helsinki Collegium welcomes the public to a series of conversations that explore the collaboration between scholarly and artistic work. The events take place in the comfort of the Collegium’s Common Room and offer engaging thoughts, lively conversation, and creative performances. The evenings are hosted by HCAS fellows, alumni, and their guests. The series will continue in the spring of 2022.
The first event will take place on 1 December 2021, 6 pm, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Fabianinkatu 24A, 3rd floor) with the following topic:
The Victorian Dream of Filtering
What makes for a ‘pure’ sound? Which voices sound strange, difficult, disorienting to us – and why? In a conversation between the past and the present, ‘The Victorian Dream of Filtering’ revisits the ambitions of high fidelity recording and standards of speech that were first formulated in the nineteenth century and have since evolved, been repurposed and questioned. The application of ‘filters’ to what we hear and record has become so common that we barely notice it anymore. In this performance-lecture, we try to deconstruct the cultural work of the filter and to disentangle the messy conglomerate of health, beauty, and morality by which we judge vocal sounds. Weaving a narrative from the Visible Alphabet of Alexander Melville Bell to the AI programs assessing migrant voices at 21st century borders, we wonder if the Victorian dreams and ambitions of the perfect recording and the perfect voice are still with us and what that means.
Josephine Hoegaerts is a historian, itinerant choral singer, and knitter. Having been an HCAS core fellow, she is now the Associate Professor for European Studies at the University of Helsinki. Her research on the history of voices and vocal practice encompasses ideas about vocal health and beauty, as well as analyses of the political salience of speech and song. She currently leads the project CALLIOPE: Vocal Articulations of Parliamentary Identity and Empire, and has published on questions of voice and identity in, for example, Historical Reflections, the Journal for Interdisciplinary Voice Studies and Radical History Review.
Pedro Oliveira is a researcher, sound artist, educator, and Kone Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Arts at HCAS in 2021. His research focuses on a material inquiry of sound, using both artistic and academic methods to explore and interrogate the articulations of listening, coloniality, and violence in the policing of urban and border spaces.