Friday, 24 May 2013

Robot Whispers, ASMR: A void being close

After creating a technologically augmented ASMR piece for the English Heretic event with Carey I've been thinking about the reasons why intimacy and strange feelings are conjured.  For ordinary ASMR I expect this is mostly due to misguided and unacknowledged reactions to occularcentric, heteronormative and tertiary capitalism norms. For an example of the fodder for such bad conflations of innocent autonomous responses and an aesthetic and affect indebted to a conditioning from the worst tropes of hegemony see the below:

 But is there a cyborg ASMR voice? In an apt conceptual reversal of feigning closeness the whisper voice synthersizer (available on all text to voice readers) is just what the typical ASMR whisper is. The synthetic whisper voice is essentially a de-toned and noised out voice - noise is added. This should create a distance - but in an odd way I feel that it creates a closeness. But making a synthetic voice hide behind a gauze of noise a longing intimacy is conjured on cyborgian terms. I feel this resonates with the deluded fans of actual ASMR whisperers - despite the whisperers delivery being shot through with occularcentric and tertiary service conflations - the fact that their whispering is delivered though a lonely youtube channel must be considered. Is the intimacy of ASMR due to the format of isolation that spawned its popularity? See a nice dramatisation of this in Kate Bush's video for Deeper understanding:

So here I approach the cyborg whisper of intimate distance - the synthetic whisper effect that is a voice hidden behind a gauze of noise. Two particular pop videos come to mind but I'm sure there are more - (I almost feel this cyborgian distance intimacy of the whisper noise effect is a trope.)

Is the distance, the silent, un-admitted distance, mute distance of the isolated position of the listener the object voice of the cyborg?

The voice that:

"embodies the very impossibility of attaining auto-affection, it introduces a scission, a rupture in the middle of the full presence and refers to a void" (Dolar)

"the true object voice is mute (...) and what effectively reverberates is the void: resonance always takes place in a vacuum  - the tone as such is originally a lamentfor the lost object. The object is here as long as the sound remains unarticulated ; the moment it resounds , the moment it is "spilled out," the object is evacuated, and this voidance gives birth to the barred subject ($) lamenting the loss of the object" (Zizek)

I feel that both ASMR and the cyborg whisper trope in music afford an intimacy through technological distance, the lamentation for the distance between object and subject evokes the strange intimacy.

See two nice examples of the cyborg whisper below:
technologically manifested distance keeps the voice feeling close...


  1. Wow you must be lit up to get asmr from just about everything. I get that every now and then but it's rare!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Now I know a bot can experience ASMR! All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.