Period & Style

This teen-produced interview with Dario Robleto focuses on Robletos's work The Diva Surgery (2001-2002), during the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's exhibition Soundwaves: The Art of Sampling (September 23, 2007 - May 4, 2008). Robleto investigates the capture and manipulation of voices through recording technologies. The Diva Surgery is the artist’s failed attempt to recreate a perfect diva from bits and pieces of various female singers. Part laboratory and part dressing table, The Diva Surgery is crowded with an assortment of jars and beakers. Like a contemporary alchemist, Robleto engages in the transmutation of vinyl and audio tape, amino acids, Novocain, honey, and hummingbird nectar, to form manifestations of musical terms such as “Low End Boom,” “Honey Vocals,” and “Sing Me to Sleep Mix.” Threads of shredded vinyl—literally the scrapings of music tracks from albums—are enclosed in tiny glass vials labeled Peggy, Bessy, Patsy, Shirley, Ella, etc., reducing the great female singers of the twentieth-century to the physical manifestation of their voices. Although they are only identified by their first names, their voices are universally recognized as the standards of feminine soul in music. What emerges in the work is an exploration of the impact of violence on the body, often through the literal disembodiment of the human voice. VIDEO | Director: Walker Lafee. Producer: Hunter Moskowitz. Interview: Walker Lafee. Camera: Zack Small. Editor: Nathan Gulick.


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