Above is a 38 minute live stereo recording of the installation, without any edits.
Listeners are recommended to use headphones as a great deal of the sonic textures are below 100Hz and will not be apparent on laptop speakers.
Since the installation composition is generative/probabilistic, there is no beginning or end ― so please jump around the track to experience different ambiences.


Matt Gingold
Asia Culture Centre
Gwangju ― South Korea ― 2023

The Absent Orkestra is about the ways in which we listen to, and attempt to silence, machines; and how those machines listen to and silence humans and non-humans alike.

Drawing on field recordings of industrial noise, raw audio from machine learning databases, electromagnetic interference and AI generated sounds, the installation summons up the idea that we are already living in a ‘postfuture’ science-fiction, alien-nated from each other, and from traditional ideas of nature.

Instead, we are increasingly in intimate relationships with machines and material assemblages. High-rise apartments, sky-scrapers and transportation have come to look – and operate – like banal spaceships.

Simultaneously, digital communication, artificial intelligence, home and industrial automation are sold to us as extra-ordinary, ‘enchanted’ technologies that will either save or destroy us – thereby masking the exploitation and extraction required to produce, maintain and use these technologies.

There are two types of sounds in the work: the sounds of machines we (usually) don’t want to listen to and sounds that (usually) only machines listen to.

Machine listening technologies can be traced back to the history of listening devices in Western military contexts. More recently it has come to describe how machines are listening to us: eg., machine assistants like Siri, as well as mass audio surveillance and crime detection.

Machine silencing is a term I am using to refer to the ways in which the sounds of machines themselves have come to paradoxically both represent and obfuscate ‘power’. The sounds of engines, power tools and air conditioning and are often unwanted sounds, but also signify that something (or someone) is working: better, faster or harder.

By examining these entwined concepts of machine listening and machine silencing, the work operates as a sonic capsule drawing attention to the ghostly voices and sounds we do not want to hear, or simply do not listen to.


Sound Design, Code & Electronics
Matt Gingold

Haegeum Improvisation (Recorded & RAVE Model)
Kim Yeji

Machine Learning Algorithms and Datasets
RAVE: Realtime Audio Variational autoEncoder

Common Voice English Single Word and Korean Speech Corpus

Deeply Korean Emotional Speech, Nonverbal Vocalization and Parent-Child Vocal Interaction Corpus

The Absent Orkestra was exhibited as part of the group show – Planetary Pulse – the culmination of a 7 month residency at the Asia Culture Centre exploring the theme “Futures of Listening“.


44 Channel Surround Sound Installation

16 x Custom Built “Wifi Samplers” (SD Card, 2 x I2S 3W Amp, Power Supply, Screen, Buttons), 32 x 8W 30mm Resonator, 4 x 40W Dayton Audio Full-Range Resonator, 2 x Dayton Audio Base Shaker, 4 x Genelec 8030B Studio Monitor, 1 x Genelec Sub, 1 x JBL Sub, 1 x Motu 896mk3, 1 x Behringer Ultragain ADA8200, 2 x 100W Class D Amp, 2 x 300W Class D Amp, 4 x 5m WS2812 RGBCW LEDs, 2 x 300W 5v Power Supply, 1 x Teensy 4.1, 200m Speaker Wire, Black Acrylic, Silver Thread, 32 x Plastic Test Tubes, Gold Beads.


Variable (as pictured)
3980mm W x 8500mm D x 2700mm H (room)