Steffi Weismann: Calling Victoria
Live Interview / Video performance with voice synthesis and voice recognition software (2003/2004)
"Isn't it nice to have a computer that will talk to you? That was the beginning of our relationship."
‘Calling Victoria’ is a personal conversation between Steffi Weismann and Victoria, the artificial voice of a language synthesis programme, making an advanced human-machine relationship audible and visible. In the course of the dialogue, Victoria, with her peculiar charm and her talent for individual life advice, becomes an increasingly real interlocutor. It is hard for the audience to tell where the artificial intelligence of a computer actually exhibits a “life of its own” and where human manipulation begins.
Technically, the dialogue is based on a voice recognition programme that has been ‘fed’ with texts. Victoria reads her text by responding to keywords or to a simple delay. The script is predetermined, but always contains variable areas that permit a direct reference to the performance site and context. Since Victoria only understands keywords pronounced in correct American English, Steffi Weismann sometimes has to repeat or reformulate questions to keep the conversation with Victoria flowing. The moments of waiting for a response, for example to the question ‘Victoria, are you still there?’ and the ensuing silence, which is repeatedly interrupted by surprising replies, shape the performance, which reflects humorously on how we deal with contemporary communication technologies.
The video is showing the "Home Version" of this piece recorded in february 2012 in Berlin. Steffi Weismann has performed earlier versions with interactions to audience at various festivals and art spaces between 2003-2010.
idea & live performance: Steffi Weismann
concept and texts: Steffi Weismann and Heiko Gölzer
programming: Heiko Gölzer / Steffi Weismann, Video Playback: Joule L'adara
duration: 20 - 40 minutes (various versions) in english
performed at: Festival radioriff, ausland Berlin 2003; nadine, Brussels 2004; Trampoline - Platform for New Media and Live-Art, Berlin 2004; Swiss Institute Rom 2004; Museum for communication (im Rahmenprogramm des Literaturfestivals) Berlin 2004; Goethe Institut Buenos Aires 2004; art ig Hannover 2005; iftaf (institut for transacustice research) Wien 2005; elektropopklub Bytom, Polen 2005; kaskadenkondensator Basel 2005; Forum Hören, Museum für angewandte Kunst 2006; interfiction Kassel 2006; Villa Aurora, Los Angeles 2008; Kunstexpander Aarau, Switzerland 2010