Ensemble Electra will perform Yannis Kyariakides’ multimedia composition FACE. Text, projections and music all reflect the theme of digital face recognition and the interpretation of emotions. These elements constitute a network of data that represent the image we create of ourselves through sophisticated technology.
Digital media turn the face, the most personal reflection of each individual, ever more into depersonalized, public property. Computers are being programmed to recognize faces and emotions. Yannis Kyriakides has conceived FACE around this disconcerting fact. It is a multimedia piece he composed for ensemble Electra (Susanna Borsch, recorders; Diamanda Dramm, violin; Saskia Lankhoorn, piano; Michaela Riener, soprano).
Over the course of an hour various aspects of the face, and emotions that can be read from it, are highlighted in music, text and projections. Images of facial casts, detailed wireframes, distorted portraits and of the members of Electra alternate with descriptions of facial expressions, of various ways in which emotions are visible on a face and musings on this mirror of the mind. These texts, written by Kyriakides and Maria Barnas, seem to lead an independent life. In this interplay of music, imagery and words dense webs of interconnected meanings emerge. The instruments and the voice are paired with electronically processed copies. This mesh of lines approximates a rendering of the way digital systems see and recognize us. Based on input and analysis they pass judgement. FACE doesn’t confront us with a dystopian future, but with a troubling present.