Cairo Talking Heads is an audio blog by Gilles Aubry and Stephane Montavon documenting their art residency in Cairo in 2007. During the course of six weeks, they acted as "acoustic mirrors" for individuals in the city, recording oral speech fragments by various activist bloggers faced with censorship.
The artists focus mainly on documenting acoustic environments, instances of oral speech, and elements of auditory culture. Secondary emphasis is placed on the effort to learn a foreign language, in this case Arabic, through deep listening and imitation. A third thematic tracks the approach of young democratic activists who internationalize their voice and struggle via blogs in English. These three interwoven threads reflect pervasive remnants of Orientalism and present ways of gaining exposure, for instance by constantly listening and then transmitting.
Thoughts and texts describing the experience of different meetings and situations, transcriptions of interviews, and sound works are the elements that punctuate the blog www.cairotalkingheads.blogspot.com. By surfing it, listeners will immediately submit to in the acoustic tensions of Cairo and gradually participate in the game of mixing their own sound works to recreate its landscape.
(Text: Gilles Aubry and Stéphane Montavon)
Gilles Aubry (*1973), lives in Berlin, Germany, sound artist.
His work is based on research into the material, historical and cultural aspects of sound and listening. He uses field recordings, voices, music and sound archives to create live performances, installations, movies and radio pieces.
Stéphane Montavon (*1977), lives in Basel, Switzerland, poet and sound artist.
Based on interviews, sound archives, field recordings and self-staged recordings, he composes quadraphonic pieces for site-specific installations or black box, and ones that can be transposed, with the help of video artists, into a surround-sound film. Montavon's main interest is in the listener's attitude and the auditory side of everyday (crisis) situations. As an "ear witness," he takes the most diverse voices from this babel and splices them together in order to create docu-fictional sound narratives on the art of listening according to Sophocles (L'Appeau); the art of pouring a concrete slab (Dalle extérieure); the term "supremacy" according to a car tuner, a theologian and a scientist (Bolidage); the transition in the Egyptian revolution on March 9, 2011 (Trahir la place); and the term "landscape" (Wirvwar).