Egyptian mummies are physical relics of a highly advanced ancient civilization for which the search for immortality was a defining cultural impetus. In his performative approach to an approximately 2000-year-old male mummy, Christian Kosmas Mayer draws on the ancient Egyptian belief that the dead can only attain eternal life if their voices are revived. Using data from computed tomography (CT) scans, the artist and his scientific advisors were able to create an exact replica of the mummy’s vocal tract, which they then fitted with a movable silicone tongue. Mayer played this artificial vocal organ as though it were an instrument and produced a range of vocal sounds from which he then composed a multi-channel sound piece. Falling somewhere between science and poetic speculation, the resulting sounds take us into the depths of time and combine the archaic with the hypermodern.
Christian Kosmas Mayer and Schaufler Lab@TU Dresden