As a sound artist and researcher, I have been inquiring into the materiality of voice databases, their semantic and political value, and their continued existence as archives. More specifically, I am interested in the deployment of "sonic biometrics" in the border and migration industries of Europe.
State-sponsored campaigns transfer biometric assessment from machines to citizens, encouraging peer-surveillance in train stations, airports, and public offices, all the way to police-enforced racial profiling and violence. These forms of racial profiling, concomitantly, are fed back into machine-learning processes which reproduce systemic biases and colonial assumptions in their decision-making processes. Such feedback loops evince how sound is instrumentalised to act as a disciplinary mechanism, and how biometry is fundamentally a performative gesture, that is, how it seeks to pinpoint that which it has set itself to reveal. This talk probes and intervenes these matters using my current research project on so-called "accent recognition technologies" as its main narrative thread.
Pedro Oliveira is a researcher and artist in sound studies, born in São Paulo 21 years after a Coup d'Etat in Brazil, and 31 before another one. Through performance A Series of Gaps Rather than a Presence at CTM 2019, Oliveira will offer an artistic, decolonising framework for investigating what he calls the “colonial politics of sonic biometrics.”