Karaoke is a public project initiated by the Phi Foundation Education and Public Engagement Department in response to the exhibitions Phil Collins and Eva & Franco Mattes: What Has Been Seen. Both exhibitions are presented at the Foundation from November 8, 2019, through March 15, 2020.
Invented in Japan in the 1970s, karaoke quickly became a global cultural and technological phenomenon, one that demonstrates a potential role reversal between artist and audience. The term “karaoke” originates from the Japanese words kara (empty), and ōkesutora (orchestra). This “empty orchestra” allows us to lend our voices to a text, to reinterpret someone else’s melodies, and to change their affect, sincerely or ironically. It allows us to hear differently.
In the Traces space, you will find a songbook, a pen, and a stack of small pieces of paper. Choose a song that you would like to perform, write the title on a piece of paper along with your name, and place the paper in the box provided. Do not hesitate to pick a song that you would never dare to sing in public, a song that you have already sung too often, or one that you wish to dedicate to someone.
Periodically, we will open the box and add the songs selected by you and other participants to an evolving playlist, which will continue to grow with your suggestions throughout the exhibition as further selections are received. We may not be able to hear your voice, but we can discover your preferences. The expanding playlist will play continuously on a set of headphones located in the Traces space. It will also be available online on Phi’s Spotify account.
Photo: Daniel Fiset