VALA

 

Video installation; 2017

Running time: 10 min

 

Vala is the name of an online hybrid digital assistant. Her voice and body shape-shift
between multiple identities, guiding and directly addressing the viewer in her roles as an
instructor, hypnotist and pop-star.


As we're surrounded with increasingly more electronic voices, the project departs from exploring
the voice; voice as an indicator of presence and absence and it's shapeshifting through
technology. Inspired by the “flood” of digital/virtual assistants and instructional and self-help
contents/interfaces where female voice guide the users, the project addresses the notion of a
(historic) female role as a consultant, a guide and an entertainer.
The name VALA refers to a demon in Vedic scriptures, female shaman in nordic mythology, and
finally to Vala in William Blake's mythological system. The project stages the intertwining of the
digital, entertaining and consoling female voices, out of which emerges a new hybrid voice that
travels through various embodiments - a poetic voice tagging glitches, clicks and shifts of
consciousness during the wandering and scrolling online. While the feminine features define online
chat-bots and assistants, such as Siri, Google Now, Cortana, the notion of gender, femininity, as
well as subjectivity and consciousness, are rendered as screen-based surface effects. The
multimodal interaction mirrors the fragmented nature of identities online and offline. Gynoids and
and Ais adopt the looks of celebrities and pop-stars, and the lines between digital, real, virtual, and imaginary, are becoming increasingly blurred.
Video VALA is constructed with visual and sonic interface designs patterns, rendering a new
understanding of the temporality we exist within, shaped by digitalization. In the repetition and
overlapping of visual and vocal patterns, we are faced with a liquid and shapeless contemporary
consciousness.

Project is supported by Mondriaan fonds, The Netherlands.


Vala is made in collaboration with artist/musician Jesse Perlstein.

Credits and collaborators:
Cast: Yuliya Molina, Brina Vidic, Ana Marija Garafol, Giovanna Rados
Crew: Sanjin Švajger, Rajko Bizjak, Bor Kiswarday
Fashion design: Janja Videc
Singers: Aileen Painter, Brina Vidic, Giovanna Rados
Voice: Harmony Pilobello
Music and sound design: Jesse Perlstein