Deep Feeling: AI and Emotions

Curator: Nohar Ben Asher 1.8.2019 - 28.12.2019

Dor Zlekha Levy presents an audiovisual installation based on conversational applications, and on text-to-speech and speech-to-text conversion technologies. Through these he examines contemporary and future modes of communication, which form a choir of Hebrew-Arabic-digital voices. A dialogue between digital voices originating in automatic speech translation applications, is audible in the gallery space. "Carmit" and "Majid" are synthesized generic voices developed based on the digital sounds of Hebrew and Arabic. The Hebrew-speaking Carmit and Arabic-speaking Majid repeat words in both languages, ostensibly responding to one another, engaged in a dialogue inspired by mundane encounters in the local linguistic sphere, which the artist composed for them. The conversation is divided into chapters, each containing a different interaction between the conversants: acquaintance, prayer, suspect arrest procedure, singing of the national anthem, swearing, and a love song. Original music is intermittently played in the background, to complement the emotional frequencies absent from the speakers' voices.
During the recording, the voices of the two speakers were translated and mixed to generate a chain reaction of vocal repetitions and translations. As the voices gradually draw away from their original tone, the meaning of the words and the differences between the two languages become vaguer. The work examines a form of digital communication in a manner which a-priori causes it to fail, since the original goal of the translation application is to aid in conducting a dialogue, whereas here, the mix of languages and the lack of clarity are emphasized. Concurrently, Zlekha Levy explores a history of misunderstandings, linguistic inventions, and leaks between the neighboring languages, relating to the conversation management and automatic translation applications as both a problem and a solution.

Programming: Khen Price
Translation and language consultant: Natheer Taha (Ulban)
Soundtrack: Aviad Zinemanas, Omer Schonberger
Mix: Aviad Zinemanas
Cinematography: Hila Ido
Lip synchronization: Yafit Ido, Natheer Taha
Produced with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund