A Counting creates a sound portrait of St. Louis
16 February, 2021
The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, a recipient of operating support from the Arts and Education Council, invites people across the city to share their voice and demonstrate the diversity of languages spoken by those who live here. With this project, St. Louis joins the expanding roster of cities to participate in A Counting, the first project by Ekene Ijeoma's Poetic Justice group at MIT Media Lab.
“A Counting creates space for all languages and accents to coexist,” says Ijeoma. “A Counting serves as a meditation and speculation of what a unified society could sound like.”
St. Louisans are invited to call a hotline and listen or participate by counting aloud. Callers’ recordings are algorithmically spliced into separate number samples, which the caller and volunteers are invited to transcribe on the website. These samples are then remixed in real-time into a count to 100 with a different voice and language for every number. When one count ends, another starts.
Across the series, when available, the number 1 is spoken in a language Indigenous to the region of the city. In St. Louis that would include Chickasaw, Illini, Ioway, Otoe-Missouria, Osage, Quapaw, Sac & Fox and Shawnee languages and dialects. Every participant who shares their name, from callers to transcribers, is credited in the video and on the website. The St. Louis edition of A Counting is being developed with CAM as part of CAM Anywhere, the museum’s online audience engagement platform.
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is a recipient of operating support from the Arts and Education Council. The generosity of donors like you makes it possible for the Arts and Education Council to support organizations that make our community more vibrant. Keep art happening with a gift to the Arts and Education Council today.