Will our relationship with the dead change at a time when technology allows us to communicate with digital representatives of the deceased using synthesized voices? By synthesizing a voice from a body that was mummified 2000 years ago, this project wants to make the liminal space between life and death tangible, which we are currently making accessible with new means. For this purpose, CT scan data of an Egyptian mummy was used to 3D print a model of the mummy’s vocal tract. Together with scientists from TU Dresden, Christian Kosmas Mayer then invented an innovative liquid tongue that gives the sounds the typical characteristics of a human voice and makes them variable. The artist then composed a complex composition in which the cool technology that led to its creation recedes entirely behind a poetic mystery. Falling somewhere between scientific precision and poetically speculative experiment, this piece takes one into the depths of time and combines the archaic with the hypermodern.
Christian Kosmas Mayer is an artist working in a wide range of disciplines. His work has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art Vienna (mumok); Belvedere, Vienna; Centrum Kultury Zamek, Poznan; Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart; Austrian Cultural Forum, New York; and participated in group exhibitions at the 26th Bienal de São Paulo; Manifesta 7, Rovereto; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Leopoldmuseum, Vienna; Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles; and numerous other venues.
Mayer has buried an artwork next to L.A.’s oldest palm tree for 100 years, created seedlings from Cornelius Johnson’s Olympic Oak, and worked with plants that have grown from 32.000 year old seeds found in the Siberian permafrost.
Mayer is the author of several books and vinyl records and is co-founder and publisher of an art magazine. In 2020 he received the Outstanding Artist Award of the Republic of Austria and in 2011, he won the Kardinal-König-Kunstpreis in Salzburg.