Your Hearing Them
Blake Johnston / New Zealand
What does your voice sound like? This question may seem simple, but surprisingly, it can be problematic. The reaction to hearing one’s voice played back through a recording is often of disgust or disownership; “that’s not how I sound”. However, this version of your voice is much closer to the way others hear it. This reveals the duplicitous nature of the voice – there is a conflict in your own perception of it and what others hear. The answer to the question: “what does your voice sound like?” depends on who is asked.
Your Hearing Them is a wearable technology artwork that presents the experience of someone else’s voice from their experience. The headset allows you to hear their voice as they do. The experience is deeply empathic, as two people can converse in a way in which their subjectivities are shared.