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impermanence of voice
Although the technology required to produce the Guantanomobile project was undoubtedly low, the presentation of voices as a visual readout does mesmerize the viewer. As I watched the voices surface and recede, jump and muddle down to the base, I thought about the emotion in the voices recorded. The lines formed by their voiced reminded me of invisible ink, which could only be viewed momentarily. Of course, it is almost impossible not to situate this idea in the context of the prisoners ("war criminals") and their stories. We are not hearing the prisoners' stories, just perceptions of them from a different culture. I also thought about how fragile history is, how the voices fade once the events pass into common nostalgia. A few years ago, the general US population was galvanized by the events of 9/11, but hardly anyone is talking about it now. What is remembered from those conversations? I think the idea of having a mobile conversation references to the mutability, the unfixed nature of conversation. In this context, it is recorded but most of the time it is not. Once we leave the site, we do not have a transcript to follow and may just retain the words that resonated with or offended us the most. This project has a grassroots feel which makes it seem "real"-- both in terms of honesty and in documentary fidelity. Of course we have little way of verifying any "reality"-- and perhaps that is the intention.
- adan avalos, USC, 12.08.2005