SHOWINGS: What can a Vocaloid do?


What can a Vocaloid do?
June 12, 2015, at 6:30PM
Erin Gee
Sandra Annett

“There is a tension between the Body without Organs and the structure of organization or stratification it is embedded in, a tension which can itself be made productive.”

This idea is musical.

– Erin Gee quoting Sandra Annett

For this edition of SHOWINGS, artist Erin Gee presents a reconfigured version of her 2011 work Voice of Echo: Song of Love for Technological Eyes. The piece invokes the mythological nymph, the very talkative Echo who loses her ability to speak except to repeat the last words of others. Gee takes a material-discursive twist to the Greek myth making concrete manifestations of Echo’s voice in the form of a song essay.

Following the SHOWING, Erin will engage in a discussion with new media audience studies researcher, Sandra Annett in the context of her work on the fan-generated virtual pop star Hatsune Miku. Annett reads Miku’s existence as a Vocaloid – a singing voice synthesizer – through Deleuze and Guattari’s “Body without Organs”. Together, Gee and Annett will explore the unexpected potential of the “void,” and voice and its implications for feminism, techno-pop culture and performance practices.

Erin Gee is an artist whose work primarily explores digital culture through the metaphors of human voices in electronic bodies. Working in video, performance, robotics and audio art, Gee’s work has been presented at Musée d’art Contemporain de Montreal (2015), Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters, Montreal (2014), Nuit Blanche Calgary (2014), Maison des Arts du Laval, Quebec (2013), and Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, Montreal (2012). Gee has received awards from the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des Arts de Montreal, as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  Her work combining robotics and human emotion has been reviewed in publications such as Scientific American, VICE, Oyster Magazine, National Post, and La Presse. Originally from Regina, SK, Gee lives and works in Montreal.

Sandra Annett is assistant professor in Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research specialty is Digital and New Media Studies, with a focus on animation, digital cinema, and fan & audience studies. She is the author of Anime Fan Communities: Transcultural Flows and Frictions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), along with several scholarly articles on anime, new media, and virtual idols. Her hobbies include origami, digital photography, and swing dancing.

The title of this event is borrowed from Sandra Annett’s forthcoming essay: ”What Can a Vocaloid Do?’ The Kyara as Body without Organs.” Mechademia 10 (Sept. 2015).

Larynx3, 2014, courtesy of Erin Gee.

Presented in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition Flesh of the World at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, and University of Toronto Art Centre.


is a series of material-discursive events where invited artists, filmmakers, science fiction writers, and future-casters reconfigure our relationships to technologies through a science fiction lens. Programmed by Trinity Square Video’s Curatorial Research Resident, Maiko Tanaka.

Past SHOWINGS include:

Duration of Things
Revolving Doors
Dance of Communal Inquiry


June 23, 2015
Skawennati Fragnito (in partnership with Indigenous Visual Studies Program at OCADU)