Alessandro Ludovico on Sun, 23 May 1999 00:54:24 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> ludovicogram 052299 [digest]: scanner, deb levine interviews

Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 18:47:50 +0200
From: Alessandro Ludovico <>
Subject: Scanner interview

Interview excerpted from 'Neural', Italian magazine about the digital
culture at large,
web:  mail:

Scanner is one of the most acclaimed music terrorists, experimenting with
stolen sounds and conversations.

>Do you think audio devices constantly connected to the net would be as
>intriguing as the webcams?
In a sense yes, but then again isn't it just as curious sometimes to just
listen to your own neighbours through the window? i wonder who really
attends to watching these webcasts, do they only do it in case they catch
the glimpse of flesh, sex?

>The audiospace you create is really 'physical', 'cause it involves the
>voice, one of the well recognized sign of the human presence. Do you work
>to render it as much physical as you can, or your goal is to make the voice
>the most abstract?
As the years have passed so my ideas about voices and the use of sound has
evolved. Earlier on i would use the voices openly and bluntly almost to
draw attention to the brutal physicality. Recently i have used them in more
abstracted manner, processing them more and using them more as a texure, in
fact such that they have become a backdrop at times to the use of my own
voice in the work. So i have not left the voice behind, merely displaced it
for the time being.

>If you can make an object talk, which would be of your choice and why?
what a strange question - well, i often wonder how speakers remember
things, the sounds they have heard, and would love to hear a speaker
describe its history. think of all the terrible sounds your poor speakers
have had to endure over the years as you grew up!

>Do you feel eavesdropped sometimes? When?
I think we all share this feeling at times. i realise the more public ones
work becomes though the more self conscious one becomes. people you meet
might already have an idea of who you are or what you do, this is an odd
feeling to adapt to. i do my utmost to guard my personal space.

>After Surface Noise, the recent performance on the double decker bus
>touring the tourist London, what's your next creative effort you care so
>much of?
I do seem to work on some grandscale quite experimental projects- for the
moment i am working on London Calling, a show in the Metropolitan Museum in
Korea, soundtracking the show for a royal visit by the Queen of England in
April, then i am working on ideas towards a permanent sound installation in
the Science Museum in London starting year 2000.

>Tell me an audio art project you'd be enthusiastic to be funded for.
I am still attemping to work on a piece whereby i have access to all the
undelivered mail in a city and install speakers inside post boxes to read
this lost mail. it is the against the law in this country to tamper with
post so i could not complete this project, but with the right resources i
am sure it would be possible.

>Do you think the computer speech synthesizer software could be a musical
>instrument of the future?
quite possibly. remember people would never had expected computers to be
producing music in the past, nor half the instrumentation we use.

>What could be the interaction between literature and music in the digital
i wonder...ummm. we are already experiencing the new threshold of musical
exploration in the digital age and how samplers how totally changed our
perception of creativity, yet the word still remains on the page and seems
destined to, perhaps it needs to. i have friends who use experimental
typefaces and i wonder whether this is how the text will adapt to
technology, the ability to mutate and live on the page.

>What you think about the generative music? Is it realistic to think it'll
>evolve so fast to generate soon endless melodies enjoyable by anyone?
I have yet to be impressed by any generative music, that is not to say i do
not appreciate the concept, just that the final sounds are always a rather
sugary disappointment. also i would question the validity of producing such
software - does it imply that we all wish to become musicians, that we need
this opportunity. i wonder whether if someone produced software that wrote
a detective novel, a romance, a science fiction book, how people would
respond? i am really not sure.

>Sampling conversations might imply to changing the context of the phrases,
>and so their meaning. Do you care about that?
in a sense yes.  that is what a lot of visual art has played with, this
deconstructing an image, taking it into a new context, making you see or
listen with sound in a new way, to slightly alter the sense of normality
one would presume. i like to play with narrative and leave more work up to
the listener. recently i have worked on several BBC radio commissions which
have followed these ideas - Jean Cocteau's The Human Voice last year and
currently Midsummer Night's Dream.

>Would you enjoy to create artistic answer machine's outgoing messages?
Actually i still find too much pleasure in hearing other peoples messages
and how they create their space.

>If you could substitute the survaillance cameras placed in London, what
>you'd like to install there, instead?
tiny speakers that play the sounds of other places, displacing the listener
subtlely. so a quiet street could have the sound of water passing through,
the countryside the sound of train passing and so on.

>Could you tell me anything about your current work with Laurie Anderson?
>How is it evolving?
we worked on a performance piece in london 18 months ago with 100
violinists in London and i intend to work with her again to record a string
quartet she has written for a new label i set up called Sulphur Inc.

Alessandro Ludovico
Neural Online -

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Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 18:48:00 +0200
From: Alessandro Ludovico <>
Subject: Deb Levine interview

Interview excerpted from 'Neural', Italian magazine about the digital
culture at large,
web:  mail:

Deb Levine is the author of 'The joy of cybersex' and owner of the 'Ask
Alice' sex help line in USA college campus.

>What's the weirdest question you've been asked to reply?
The truth is, most of the questions I get from people about sex, love and
relationships are quite normal. People want to know how much sex is the
"right amount," if their genitals are "normal" size, and how to know if
they're in love. Funny, I thought the questions would be stranger in
nature, but instead I get very similar questions over and over again.
Okay, though, you want something strange? Here's a funny one: A woman
accountant screams out figures (numbers) whenever she's having an orgasm.
Her boyfriend wanted to know if this was normal behavior. I
said, "As long as she's happy and you're not turned off by it, what could
be the problem?"

>What's, in your opinion, the worst difficulty for men, and for women,
>while approaching online?
I always tell people that if they're using the Internet to meet others
romantically, to make sure and take along their common sense. There's no
reason to lose your head, or suspend judgment just because the Internet is
involved. Most important, before going on-line to meet people, think about
what you want out of the interaction. Is it a long-term relationship? Some
fun and laughs? A sexual release? A new friend?
Whichever it is, act in ways that will attract who you want. For example,
if you want a long-term relationship, don't have cybersex with someone
before you meet them in person. And if you're looking for a "quickie," you
don't need to know a whole lot of identifying information about the person
with whom you're about to cyber.

>What would be the positive and negative psychological consequences of
>anonimity in cybersex?
The good part about the anonymity of cyberspace is that it allows people a
freedom to explore their sexuality that's difficult to do in "real life."
Our societies are obsessed with sex -- we use sex to sell cars, perfume,
clothing and more. Yet we rarely talk about our sexuality in open, honest,
direct conversations. The Internet allows that. The anonymity gives people
a chance to ask the questions they have about sex without any fear, shame,
or embarrassment.
The bad part about the anonymity is that sometimes it brings out the worst
in human nature. Think about it: Have you ever gone to a cocktail party
where a guy walks in and announces, "Anyone want to have sex?" It just
doesn't happen. In a chat room, it's a common occurrence for a man to enter
a room and ask, "Anyone want to cyber?" Fortunately, the crass tact doesn't
work all that well, because most of these guys shape up in a hurry.
(Internet etiquette and all)

>If some AI software (as Eliza) would be coded to attract humans with its
>fictious (perfectly rendered)
>words, would the real persons get annoyed to interact each other, asking
>for virtual perfection, as
>frequently seems to happen today with the visuals?
No, I don't think so. People say what they like most about cybersex is the
feeling of being desired by another person. When you know "the person"
you're cybering with is really computer software, the same magic isn't
there. Some people probably have more vivid imaginations and will be able
to enjoy computer simulation of cybersex, but for most of us, it's the
human being on the other end that turns us on.

>Is there anything that simply seems to doesn't work online (any
Well, the on-line world is not a substitute for real life sex. Humans still
need physical contact and intimacy. While cybersex is great as a form of
exploration, sexual release, safer sex and more, it just doesn't provide
the intimacy that a real-life interaction can. Not to mention, in order to
propogate the species, we need to have physical sex. ;)

> If the net'll work very speedy, what'd be an innovative tool to use?
I think the most interesting use of real-video on the Net would be for sex
therapy. Right now, sex therapy is only legal in a few places, and there
are very few licensed sex therapists in the U.S. (only in major
cities such as New York and Los Angeles). It would be wonderful if people
who needed a boost to their sex lives or sexual technique could have
on-line sex therapy sessions where they could "meet" the therapist
and "see" the techniques. And possibly even have cybersex with a virtual
sex surrogate to help them overcome any sexual problems.

Alessandro Ludovico
Neural Online -

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