Messa di Voce 


by Golan Levin, Zachary Lieberman, Jaap Blonk, and Joan La Barbara augments the speech, shouts and songs produced by a pair of vocalists with real-time interactive visualizations.

The project 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. Custom software transforms every vocal nuance into correspondingly complex, subtly differentiated and highly expressive graphics. Messa di Voce lies at an intersection of human and technological performance extremes, melding the unpredictable spontaneity and extended vocal techniques of human 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.


Source: Golan Levin



In collaboration with fellow software artist Zachary Lieberman and singers/composers Jaap Blonk and Joan La Barbara, Golan Levin has created Messa di Voce, a new concert in which the speech, shouts and song of two abstract vocalists are complemented by corresponding live graphics. The show is part of Ultrasound 2003, Huddersfields international festival of experimental sound and electronic music.

Mickey Noonan: Please explain Messa di Voce in layman's terms.
Golan Levin: It means 'placing the voice'. It's a performance in which we are visualizing the speech and song of two singers with extended vocal techniques, in that they specialise in making unusual vocal sounds. The concept is they're singing, and, as they sing, it has been visualised behind them on a large screen.

Mickey Noonan: Right. And how do you do that exactly?
Golan Levin: We've written all the software that does the visualisation, which uses speech recognition technology. We know where the performers' heads are, so we can make the graphics appear to be emerging from them. We can change the colour or the shape or the texture of the graphics to correspond with the singing.

Mickey Noonan: So were you a software developer before embarking on this?
Golan Levin: No, I'm an artist.

Mickey Noonan: Did you have to gen up on computer programming?
Golan Levin: That's like asking a painter if they had to learn how to use paint. I think every artist has to do research into how to use their materials. The art here is software.

Mickey Noonan: Sorry.
Golan Levin: That's OK. We've had some problems getting press about the project because no one knows quite how to categorise it. Is it visual? Is it a music concert? We're well into the 21st century and we're ready for a new form of performance. Although, in a way, we've had it for 100 years and we've called it cinema - but this is live.


Source: Tmema



Messa di Voce, real time, speech, Interactive, Installation


Expanded Cinema (1970) - In a brilliant and far-ranging study, Gene Youngblood traces the evolution of cinematic language to the end of fiction, drama, and realism. New technological extensions of the medium have become necessary. Thus he concentrates on the advanced image-making technologies of computer films, television experiments, laser movies, and multiple-projection environments. Outstanding works in each field are analyzed in detail. Methods of production are meticulously described, including interviews with artists and technologists. (John Coulthart)

Farbe-Licht-Musik – Synästhesie und Farblichtmusik (2005) by Jörg Jewanski and Natalia Sidler focuses on the research on the color-light-music of Alexander Lászlo who in 1925 achieved overwhelming success with his multimedia show. A short time after his new art form fell into oblivion. The autors of this work revived and developed the experiments of Lászlo: his music has been rediscovered and coupled with actual visuals. (Natalia Sidler)



Perceptio (2011) by PMP is an audiovisual concert that investigates the state of our perception towards pollution and climate change in a local context. Perceptio combines cinematics and generative art/ animation with sound and music that is a whole, inseparable from one another. Collecting sound and visual samples from various parts of Singapore, these field recordings are then harmoniously combined with computer generated visuals and sounds to create an immersive experience. (PMP)

Versum: Go (2010) is created in a realtime three-dimensional audiovisual composition tool programmed by Tarik Barri. It forces both the audience and the composer to look at the music and listen to the visuals. (Tarik Barri)

Reza Ali is a designer/ technologist/ hybrid who is interested in everything from design to biology to art. He is interested in human computer interaction (interaction design), architecture/ product design, software, mobile technology/ hacking, generative visuals, algorithmic art, data visualization, audio-visual interactive immersive environments, new media tools for DJs/ VJs/ Performers, Trans-Architecture, photography, graphic design, user interfaces, electronics, 3D animation, modeling, rendering and scripting. (Reza Ali)

Craig Allan (*1971) aka Numbercult from Glasgow explores comunication between abstract sound and visual worlds using realtime immersive audiovisual installations, interactive digital scultptures and live performances. He specialises in music production, sound design and real-time generative graphics for large scale media environments. Craig Allan founded the eponymous numbercult record label and has released acclaimed electronic dance music on esteemed record labels around the globe under the moniker Rei Loci. (Numbercult)

ray vibration is a realtime audio-visual performance by Tina Tonagel, Christian Faubel and Ralf Schreiber. Three overhead projectors, three screens and three sound systems. Different electro-kinetic devices, machines and instruments are placed on the projectors. They produce movement and sound. The small sounds of what happens on the projectors are filtered, distorted and amplified. At the same time a triptych in cinemascope format displays magnified, filtered, distorted images of what happens on the screens/fresnel lenses of the projectors. (ray vibration)