V2 International Festival, s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands1990. by Stephen Wilson

oratorio image
An interactive sound installation creates an "Oratorio" of voice by digitizing the opinions of citizens and moving processed versions of their stored voices among several loudspeakers on a public square. Points of view become identified with specific physical locations. 

Holland - famous for religious tolerance. Catholics vs Protestants.  Nazis vs Jews. I wanted to honor this history. 

The V2 invited me as one of the international focus artists in their Manifestation for Unstable Media. I decided to create a site specific installation for one of the church squares.  This sound installation asked passers-by to speak short 6 second answers to contemporary religious questions. 

It stored all the answers spoken during the week.  When no one was recording an opition, it created sound events by "mapping" the opinions to the physical space of the square.  The placement of the sound enhanced the conceptual or emotional content of the opinions.  For example,  in one event one speaker played back the spoken answers to the question "why is there evil in the world?" while the other speakers played the sounds of animal yells. 

The installation asked for indications of sex, age, and religious conservatism and used this information in some of the events.  For example, in another event the answers from the conservatives came from one side of the square while those from liberals came from the other. 


Where do you go to find hope? 
What gives meaning to your life? 
What is one thing you can do to save the earth? 
Please share prayar or affirmation. 
Under what circumstances is suicide justified? 


What do we owe to other humans?
Under what circumstances might killing be justified? 
How are we our brother's keeper? 
What do you do with hate or jealousy? 
Are we above the animals? 
In what ways do we have free will?
Describe a sin you have committed. Describe a righteous deed. 


How can an all-knowing, all-powerful god allow evil? 
Are evil-doers punished? 
Why is there evil?
What do you think happens to you after you die?
What will the day of judgement be like? 
How do you justify the suffering of an innocent child? 


What is your place in the cosmos?
When you contemplate your place in the universe, how do you feel? 
If you could design a god, what attibuters would you give it?
What things are beyond the rational mind?
What makes a place sacred? 

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- This page created by Stephen Wilson, Professor Conceptual /Information Arts, SFSU (http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~swilson) swilson@sfsu.edu 
- More information about the Conceptual Information Arts program is available at (http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~infoarts)
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