Investigating sonic technologies and the transmutation of voice into matter, Navid Navab & Michael Montanaro’s Aquaphoneia is an odd alchemical assemblage capable of liquifying sounds. Thermodynamically processing people’s voice offerings, Aquaphoneia is something like a record player reverse-engineered by a people who can speak underwater. Visitors can speak into a large horn and hear their aqueous voice alchemically transformed by a series of obscure glass instruments into a burbling, underwater tongue. These sounds are fed through strange kinetic instruments activated by the drip of liquids, aquasonic devices that seem on the verge of replying in a human language construed entirely from water. In another part of the work, voices can be made out in the crackling of an unfading globe of fire, like some promethean folly, extracting ‘phonetic vapour’, ‘spectral mist’ and alchemico-sonic gold. Linguistics meets alchemy in this fantastical liquification of the ways we communicate.

Art direction, sound/installation concept and design, audiovisual composition, programming & behaviour design: Navid Navab
Art direction, visual concept and design & fabrication : Michael Montanaro
Electronics, sound design & programming: Peter Van Haaften
Embedded lighting design: Nima Navab
Research collaboration: Topological Media Lab

Presented in partnership with: The Lighthouse

Supported by: The Ministry of Culture in Québec, Québec Government Office, London, FRQSC, Canada Council for the Arts, Concordia University & The Lighthouse