Formed in mid-2003, Mimic Mass is a Melbourne based audio-visual performance group who utilise video, three voices, live-vocal processing and minimal beat programming. In Mimic Mass performances, sound and gesture come together and dissipate in a continual cycle of transitory and recalled moments.
The lead singer of contemporary popular culture is divorced from the band she commonly heads. Her voice is fragmented through real-time processing. Lyrics vary between associative comprehension and pure sonic texture. The audience is submerged in a network of sound, image and text in which they draw meaning through creative association.
Twentieth Century advances in recording technology achieved a divorcing of voice from body, sound from performance gesture. Radio put the vocal chords of the diva into your own living room. Split Radio mirrors this dislocation of voice within the gallery, taking radio’s bread and butter, popular song, as source material to explore intimacy, dislocation and outright chaos.
Vocalists are situated in different corners of a large gallery space, each with personal, localised amplification. A separate, acoustically treated and blacked-out room containing a PA is also accessible to a freely moving audience. The basic framework of the performance consists of the vocalists simultaneously singing different vocal-only cover versions of multiple songs, at times finding intersections of rhythm, tone and emotion through improvisation, and at times singing as though regardless of one another. These multiple sources are fed to an electronic set-up whereby it is sampled, processed and layered in real-time, before being sent to a PA in the acoustically isolated blacked-out room. In face of the intense sonic experience presented in either room, the audience is offered the opportunity to try on any of a large number of headphones hanging throughout the gallery. Each set of headphones isolates a single vocalist’s performance, offering an intimate experience of untreated, raw vocal delivery. Listening as though with your ear to the mouth of a vocalist in full flight, juxtaposes the chaotic but controlled improvisation of three voices in space and a digital remix conforming the disparate sources into a unified whole.
The office is a site of desired functionality and productivity. It is also the day to day: the human level of large-scale business empires. The tension between profit driven efficiency and inherent human messiness has forced the upper levels of corporations to seek ways of standardising and rationalising human output- the result is the technological network.
Accepting nothing but quantifiable data, digital networks remove the undesirable variants in a human's daily activities. 'Perhaps, if'‚ becomes 'yes'‚ or 'no'. By reducing people's work to digital data streams, the large scale impossible becomes manageable.
In Stationary, Mimic Mass present a network in motion.
By virtue of its existence, this department must surely have a purpose. There are people engaged in constant activity; vocalists provide input for digital processes, others work behind computer screens with audio equipment, video is projected onto the walls. However, the purpose is unclear.
Further viewing confirms that they toil not for commercial gain but simply to justify their existence. Deprived of a mission statement to drive them forward, they have become the inverted organization that creates output by reflecting on itself.
If nothing else, this department must simply continue creating output to feed into the network.