"The Bureau for Hyper Alienation Cairo (BHAC) is an Egyptian biohacking* collective, founded in 2004. Their modifications and actions often stand within a politically activist context and are informed by a posthumanist worldview. In an interview with the french daily newspaper Le Monde, published in 2007 they stated: „We think of alienation as something contingent, that cannot be overcome by some vision of nature. Hyper alienation means to think of this positively, even amplify it to allow us to go way beyond the limits of our scope. Thats why we modify ourselves“. Between 2008 and 2010, BHAC developed the Augmented Apparatus, based on surveillance technology by the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) that was leaked in the end of the 1990s. The Augmented Apparatus is a modification of ones eardrums, that allows for an independent control of their respective tension via pressure sensors on the temples. This results in a controllable and immensely increased sensibility and scope of ones auditory perception. Psychoacoustically this furthermore affects ones perceived listening position in space, which is directly coupled to the eardrums tension. In manipulating it, it is as if one could independently from another beam ones ears through space. Moreover, the Augmented Apparatus can record anything listened to onto an implanted chip. It was used in 2011 during the protests on Tahrir square in Cairo to locate approaching police and military units.
* Biohacking is the modification of the human body through cybernetic devices."
On Spatial Modification is a collection of seven listening pieces or listening preparations, composed for a series of works performed by ensemble SUONO MOBILE at Klangraum-Festival 2017 in Stuttgart. Each listening-piece corresponds to a piece in their program. Most of them are instructions for the audience to alter their hearing either directly by covering their ears in a specific way or indirectly through a certain perceptive framing. Furthermore there is an interview with one of the composers who had a piece performed around questions of alienation and subjectivity and their relation to his work as well as a performance for laptop performers, text projection and video, done in parallel to the last piece of the concert. In this performance – based on Self-titled I – we wrote and projected what we heard (the piece, the noises in the audience etc.) while gradually incorporating descriptions of non existing or fictive sounds, trying to initiate a seeking kind of listening that is trying to hear what isn't actually there. On Spatial Modification is based on exercises from preparatory workshops for the Augmented Apparatus that have been conducted by the Bureau for Hyper Alienation Cairo between 2010 and 2013 in Cairo and Suez. By framing these pieces through this fictive narrative we hope to enable a different and potentially politicized mode of aural perception.
Composition, concept, performance: Julian Siffert, Uikyung LeeIllustrations, graphic design: Martha Schultz
Concert-pieces by Maximilian Marcoll, Uwe Rasch, Michael Maierhof and Malte Giesen. On Spatial Modification is part of Listening Prostheses / Kammermusik, originally developed for Klangraum-Festival 2017 at Kunstraum34 in Stuttgart.