Where do you hear my voice? Do you hear it in the bone behind your ear? Does it radiate from your chest, towards your shoulders and beyond your body? Sometimes when I hear a voice over the phone, it vibrates from the speaker at my ear, down the bone to the back of my neck, and sits there, humming, behind my vocal cords.
Customer Service Agent is a sound performance piece exploring the call centre worker as a figure of subjection to contemporary capitalism, and the place of noise, intimacy, and fantasy in this tedious, alienated work.
“Since working in call centres for a decade, I have been making art that explores this setting through sound. Call centres are places of constant eavesdropping: the workers listen to the callers, the team leaders listen to the workers, the managers listen to all. While centres collect and transmit certain types of ‘signal’, I’m interested in ‘noise’: the intimacy of words and sounds off-script, disintegrating hold music played through imprecise telephone lines, and disruption.”
Eavesdropping, a collaboration between Liquid Architecture, Melbourne Law School and the Ian Potter Museum of Art, comprising an exhibition, a public program, series of working groups and touring event exploring the politics of listening through work by artists, researchers, writers and activists from Australia and around the world.
SAM KIDEL is a British artist, musician and researcher. His 2016 album Disruptive Muzak (Death of Rave) was described by Boomkat as ‘a modern ambient masterpiece… the most prescient record of our times’.