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Gérard KLEIN

Acousmatic composition

Duration: 12’ 38’’


Towns, is a free acousmatic interpretation of the short story of the same title, written by Gérard Klein in  1981 in the anthology “a man against the city”.

My first approach was  to “enter” the body of the machine, to perceive and make its cybernetics heard. Through captured sounds - machines, robot toys, computers, light bulbs, telephones, radio waves - I sought to organicize a matter-form.

This entity has a unique relationship with man and  the foreigner. Constantly questioning “Who are you?” to the inhabitants of a city that she is supposed to protect and control, her synthetic voice crudely apes accents. Bug? Attempted intimidation? What do these accents say? (1)

Or perhaps it is this resident, Mr. Ferrier, who is speaking to the foreigner?

This ambiguous relationship between human voice and machine, particularly in the security functioning of the city, recently struck me. In April 2022, in Shanghai, during a lockdown, robot dogs and drones order residents:Control your soul's desire for freedom. Do not open the window or sing as this may infect others. Some audio extracts, found on the internet, are present in this piece. (2)

Klein concludes this contemporary, protean short story by highlighting the racist power given to security technologies, a power which will eliminate the men of the city, all considered, henceforth, as foreigners.


(1) I cannot resist echoing this telephone call center which is currently developing an algorithm to Americanize, directly, the Indian accent of its employees >

(2) Video - control drones in Shanghai:

Klein the cities - Composition by Jean-Philippe Velu
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