Source material on Microphone Permission are from various projects Guffond has been working on; a commission to sonify the data of the city of Melbourne, a dance performance about the future sounds of an extinct forest, an installation that sonifies Twitter meta data in real time, a job as a composer for a theatre work about music and feminism by five young female identifying performers in Western Sydney and a site specific installation at the Linachtalsperre dam that employed the harmonic frequencies of electric currents.
The results are a stark, brooding, disorientating journey into a paranoid musical field that sits somewhere between ambient club music and a dystopian soundtrack. Elements of techno, classical music and sound art form a dark intriguing masterwork that questions the nature of invasive, algorithmic and computational listening practices.
For example Microphone Permission refers to the consent we routinely give when installing various apps. onto our smart devices. Inspired by a 2018 scandal in which fans of Spain’s most popular soccer team were effectively turned into unwitting spies by granting the La Liga application microphone permission. No matter which make or model, all smart devices are built with a microphone that is by default, forever listening. Listening in these situations often takes on an algorithmic form that enables tech developers to bypass public response to what is intuitively considered invasive practice, that is, traditional modes of eavesdropping such as using the microphone to listen and record audio.