The Automated Prayer Machine

Annabelle Chvostek and Anna Friz present the Automated Prayer Machine, a multi-media performance using music and soundscape, video and low-watt radio broadcasting.

Our sampled sources range from the hate-filled holy rollers of right wing talk radio to the voices of our friends and acquaintances, as we recast radio as an antidote to despair.

In the field of media arts, our process is notable for our use of old or ‘residual’ media such as radio together with traditional minstrel instruments (violin and accordion) and electronics. Re-visiting and re-imagining residual technologies such as radio calls into question currently accepted paradigms of communication, and suggest that other uses of media are possible and needed. Our choice of instruments is guided by their expressiveness and performativity as well as their sonic properties. We create dynamic, atmospheric works equally able to reflect upon public media culture or to reveal interior landscapes.

Annabelle and Anna toured the piece to six cities in Europe this past winter (Digitales festival, Brussels, Rotterdam, Hamburg, club.transmediale/bootlab, Berlin, ORF Kunstradio, Vienna and Bratislava). We recently performed in Montreal at Rad’a gallery in August 2004, will be touring to Send+Receive festival in Winnipeg in October 2004, and Quito, Ecuador in 2005.

Anna Friz is a sound and radio artist living in Montreal. She has presented installation and performance works incorporating low-watt FM transmission across Canada, as well as at the Third Coast Audio Festival in Chicago, PS 122 in New York City, Ars Electronica 2002, and at the Akademie der K¸nste, Berlin. She has produced numerous original radio works for Kunstradio, Austria, as well as for campus/community radio stations across Canada, and for public radio in Canada, Austria, Denmark and Mexico.

Annabelle Chvostek is a Montreal-based composer, videographer, singer and multi-instrumentalist. Her audio creations range from abstract electroacoustics sample-rich grooves to contemporary folk songs. She has created multi-media performances and soundscores for dance in New York City, Montreal and Toronto; and has made award-winning short videos that have aired at festivals like Chicago’s Geoconference and Vancouver’s Edgewise Electrolit Videopoem Festival.