The plenary session of PARSE’s “Materiality” research strand featured Irish composer Jennifer Walshe, who is celebrated for her Barbie doll opera XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! (2003), which is loosely based on the Greek tragedy Lysistrata. Walshe’s talk at the PARSE Conference used the opera as a starting point to discuss how violence is prevalent in her work in different ways. In addition to her activities as a composer, Walshe frequently performs as a vocalist, specialising in extended techniques. In one of her recent works, ULTRACHUNK, she engaged in a daily ritual of performing solo improvisations in front of her webcam, leading to a live improvisational duet between a classically trained musician and her Artificial Intelligence double. Built on fragments of memories in the depths of neural networks, the original and virtual Jennifer Walshe inhabit the Uncanny Valley together, singing in duet, improvising, listening and responding to each other. The work was conceptualised and composed in collaboration with artist Memo Akten. As of 2021, Walshe is Professor of Composition at the University of Oxford.

Ole Lützow-Holm

The following transcript of Jennifer Walshe’s keynote has been edited for clarity.

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! is the title of an opera I wrote for Barbie dolls in 2003. As of today—18 November 2021—the opera has just turned 18. The world I wrote it in is different from the world we live in now, but there are also some things that are exactly the same. I feel privileged to get a chance to talk to you about XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! today, as an older artist looking back on work that has had time to come of age.

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! is a marionette opera designed to be performed by two female or female-identifying vocalists, a clarinet in A, a trombone, an accordion, a cello, two puppeteers, two camera operators and a CD.

If I rewind my mind to the late 90s, early 2000s, even though I am Irish, I was off in Chicago doing a PhD in composition at Northwestern University. I was very lucky in that my doctoral supervisor, Amnon Wolman, was dealing a lot with issues around sexuality, queerness and violence in his work. So, I had a supportive supervisor. When I would say to him, “I hate opera; it doesn’t make sense to me; I don’t understand what people are saying this text, and I can’t even understand what they’re singing, even if they’re singing in English. It just doesn’t connect with me.” He would say, “listen to Diamanda Galás, listen to Robert Ashley”, and nudge me in the direction of my tribe.

In 2001, I read about the marionette operas that composers such as Mozart and Haydn wrote for the summer season, when the theatres were on sabbatical or hiatus. Rich patrons still wanted to have entertainment at their summer estates, so Count Esterházy, for example, would commission marionette operas, which would be sung live while the action was carried out by puppets—a reduced version of a fully staged opera. Reading about these marionette operas, I thought instantly about the Sindy Dream House. For those of you unfamiliar with the Sindy brand, Sindy was the British version of Barbie. In the 1980s, Barbie didn’t dominate yet, and her brand existed in different formats in different countries. In the Netherlands, it was Fleur, and in Ireland and the UK you had Sindy.

As I was reading about these marionette operas, I remembered very vividly the Sindy Dream House my sister got for Christmas in 1981 or ’82, back when she would have been, I think, four or five. We used to play with it together and with our friends when we were little, and I had a suspicion my mother had kept it. I immediately called up my mother and asked, “Where is the Sindy Dream House? Is it still in the attic?” It was indeed still in the attic, but my mother was debating throwing the content of the attic out because there had been problems with rats in the attic. “Please don’t throw it out!”, I begged her.I want to make an opera with it! I don’t know what it is going to be about, but please don’t throw out the Sindy Dream House! I need it as my set!” That was the instigating thought—I had no idea what XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! would be, I just knew I had my set—or rather, my mother had my set in the attic—and that the set would unlock everything else in time.

Once I’d secured the Sindy Dream House, I got on with the other projects I was working on and the notion of the opera got stored away in the back of my head, the way it does for composers. You come up with an idea and it might not come to fruition for a year, or even ten years afterwards, but, oh boy, getting that idea and the possibility of what it might become is a beautiful thing. One thing was clear at the time: I thought “this is my way into opera”. I don’t mean that in the sense of making a career in opera or making connections with an opera company; I mean it in the sense that I now had a place to begin my own way into a genre that is very loaded and historically defined. Thinking of marionette operas and my own experiences as a kid playing with the Sindy Dream House with my sister gave me that place to begin.

A year or so later, Anton Lukoszevieze of Apartment House asked me if I had any ideas for music theatre pieces for a festival at the Festspielhaus Hellerau in Dresden. I told him about my idea of doing something with the Sindy Dream House, he was excited about this, pitched it to the festival and they commissioned it. The next step for me was thinking about what story I would want to write, because it was clear I had to write the libretto as well as the music. I started talking to people about Barbies—I will just use the term Barbie throughout, rather than Sindy, because it is simpler. I talked to lots and lots of people about their experiences playing with Barbies—men, women, kids, right through to people in their fifties.

What was very interesting was that violence was a massive theme throughout any sort of play with Barbie dolls. I remember interviewing little girls that I babysat over the years in Dublin and they were all saying:Barbie is pregnant, but she doesn’t want to be pregnant, so she leaves the baby on the kitchen table and goes out dancing and the baby falls over and breaks its skull open. Barbie falls over and breaks her legs and crawls on her broken legs to the Disco because she desperately wants to go dancing again.” Talking with little girls they would say things like “Barbie’s husband, he’s drunk so the police come and kill him.” I started to realise it wasn’t just me and my sister who played these violent, at times highly bizarre storylines with dolls; it was everybody I talked to.

The stories I was told were great! Coming through a convent-school education, as I and many of the people I talked to did, meant that Barbie might be put in a bizarre religious situation; for example, transforming into the Virgin Mary by being positioned in front of a light so it looked like she had a halo. Nobody ever seemed to have had a Ken doll, so everything was done with drag. Gender was a really blurry area: you had Barbie as the base, but then Barbie could be dressed in trousers and you could just decide that was a boy, so that you could stage a marriage. This convinced me that when we look at little girls playing with dolls, something that society often disregards as classic feminine play, slightly twee, slightly asinine, there are a lot of interesting things going on. Children are exploring things like violence, religion, relationships.

So many people talked about how, as children, their dolls had orgies, or making their dolls all sleep together, not even understanding sex but understanding this was something that bodies did from time to time. That was fascinating to me, I knew I wanted to write something that addressed all these themes. I knew I wanted to use the Barbie dolls and the house. The last thing that fell into place was reading Aristophanes’s Lysistrata, which gave me a place to start to begin to put the work together.

Aristophanes’s Lysistrata is an extremely old comic play—from 411 BC—and even if the title does not seem familiar, you have heard of this comic play where women withhold sex from their husbands in an attempt to end the Peloponnesian War. The plot of the play is the women are sick of their husbands’ fighting. They are sick of them being away at war, and so they decide they are going to go on a sex strike. This is rendered in comedic terms: the husbands are walking around with massive erections that they can’t seem to deal with and so they agree not to fight anymore. You often seen revivals of this play when war actually happens—there were revivals around the US invasion of Iraq—but it is a key piece of great Greek drama.

When I read Lysistrata, I thought, “I actually don’t agree with this. I don’t think it is a comedy. And I don’t think it would have concluded peacefully.” Because my interpretation of it was that the sex strike would have ended in rape.[1] During my education as a composer, I had of course seen many operas that featured rape, all of which were written by men. I had never seen any operas about rape that were written by women, even operas where the librettist was a woman. As a student, for example, I had been shown the rape scene from the opera Wozzeck by Alban Berg (1914–1922), but there was never any comment on or discussion of the scene beyond what the music was doing.

For me to write an opera that ended in rape, I felt that I needed to spend a long time thinking about it, because I wanted to try and stage it sensitively. I don’t mean that I stage it subtly when I say that, but I wanted to be very aware of what it meant to stage a rape, for the audience and the performers—to ask the puppeteers to act that out. That was very much in my mind. The plot of LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! has these ingredients—the research, talking to people, kids, adults about their experiences with the dolls and Aristophanes’s Lysistrata, the level of disconnect that you get when you play with dolls, when you act things out with simulations of human bodies on stage. When I wrote the libretto it was filtered through the experiences that my friends and I were having in our late 20s—I wrote this when I was 27. The libretto includes text from emails, from discussions, from conversations over a bottle of wine late at night; it was my way of metabolising some of these experiences.

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe

This image really screams to me that this piece was written in 2003, because the sound engineer took a few pictures on their digital camera with a lens that was one megapixel in size. It feels like media archaeology looking back at some of these images because they are quite old. At the centre of the stage, you have the house and two puppeteers who are operating the dolls. Then you have two camera operators filming what is going on in the house. The two puppeteers and the two camera operators are all listening to sound files instructing them: move to the dining room; make it a close-up; move to the patio; make it a wide shot.

The reason they are doing that is because I originally wrote the piece for Apartment House. To do something like this in 2003 was a big ask with little budget to support it. You had to ask for digital cameras, ask the venues to rent video cameras. Now we all just pick up our phones and you can do the whole opera with a much lower tech budget. At that point, you were also asking people who weren’t used to filming things. So, they would often make mistakes and it would be a bit all over the place. But I liked that because it spoke to the DIY aspect.

The two puppeteers are listening to the script, which the audience can read in a booklet when they go to the performance, but they never hear clearly sung. The puppeteers are listening to it almost like a radio play that they are acting out with the dolls. They know what the dolls are saying in every single moment. Scattered around them we have the two singers and then we have instrumentalists, a clarinet and a trombone, and an accordion and a cello. This is not what the audience would see [the time code], this is the sound engineer using the time code, because the whole thing is done with stopwatches so that everybody can stay synchronised and we don’t need to have a conductor.

The musicians are visible throughout and they are not neutral; they are continually doing things which connect to or are strange translations of what is happening on the screens. For example, the clarinettist has this little green telephone, and in the opening scene of the opera Camille is on the phone to her boyfriend Mike who is being useless and obstructive. She is very frustrated in this conversation but working through it without expressing her anger to him. Then you see the clarinettist pick up a green phone and start to slam it down and try and break it. You often get images that are happening in the scene that will find their way to the musicians. All these things are embedded.

At times, the singers don’t function like characters: they’re making breathing noises, they’re recording things on Dictaphones and playing them back; they’re maybe saying something in time with how one of the dolls might say it within the action, but at other times they’re just working completely independently. If you are in the audience, you have a huge amount of information that you can choose from. You have two different screens with two different camera angles. You have the actual house itself that you can also peer into. You have the six different musicians who are all doing different things at different times, often very visually. Any one person’s understanding of the opera is their unique pick of all those different elements and how they choose to combine them.

There is a fantastic new director at the Young Vic Theatre in London and in an interview they were discussing plans for a new way of doing live streams— that the audience will get to pick from multiple different camera angles. This director was saying that when audiences go to the theatre, they are continually looking in different places, both on-stage and off—sometimes they just look in the wings to see the actor who is about to come on, so they want to try and replicate that. Something that I miss after a year on livestreams is that sort of situation on stage — multiple streams of information and the fact that the audience have to navigate them. Everybody gets different details because there is so much going on to pick from.

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe

This is my sister Caroline’s Sindy Dream House from 1981. This existing artefact also helped me define the structure of the opera. Down the bottom you have a little kitchen and a bathroom, then you have the bedroom and then the living room, which can change, so at times it is a dining room and at other times a living room. Then you have the rooftop patio, and there is also a lift that can go up the side. This helped give me the structure, because the opera basically begins down here with a flashback, then moves up, ends up on the roof and then falls back to the living room. I was able to think about moving through the architecture of the house as a dramaturgy. In his book Balancing Acts (2017), Nicholas Hytner, who used to be the director of the National Theatre in London, talks about the difference between the British and German or continental approach to planning theatre productions, because the role of the dramaturg in the different countries is slightly different. He said in the UK we always have to figure out how we are going to stage it before we start to go into the deep questions of what it is about. I think that sort of practical approach is embedded in my head: “How do we do it? What are the different rooms in the house? How do we move through them?” That informs the structure of the piece.

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe
XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe
XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe

These are our dramatis personae, the three main female characters—Naomi, Camille and Gloria. The piece has over time been performed in lots of different places by different people so I designed it so that the whole thing would collapse into a trunk and then I took photographs of the different dolls so that it is very clear who they are when they’re shipped. When I made the piece, I was still a very broke graduate student, I bought the cheapest Barbie dolls that were available in shops at the time. At that time Mattel had brought out an Olympic Barbie with articulated arms, which was brilliant. She was much more expressive, the puppeteers could do a lot more with her—I got loads of her for bargain prices.

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe
XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe
XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe

Anybody who has ever had to take a Barbie doll’s dress off and change into another dress knows that it takes forever. I thought it was just easier to have multiples of each doll, so for these three female characters—Naomi, Camilla and Gloria—we have several versions of the same dolls. Mike is Camilla’s boyfriend. Tom is Naomi’s boyfriend. They are the same type of doll, but modified in exactly the same way that most people, including myself, would play with these dolls as children. John does not have a head, he just has a cardboard cut-out of a Ken doll’s head that is sellotaped to him. Tom is just a female doll wearing a male doll’s shirt. In the finished edition, Mike’s hair is burned completely off and he has a moustache drawn on with a Sharpie, and that is how Mike’s identity is established. So again, just using the dolls as children would normally—playing with genders in a very flexible way.

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe

The structure of LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! follows three acts. In the first act, Camille, Naomi and Gloria come over to Camille’s house and want to discuss why Mike, Tom and John, their boyfriends, are fighting, because the women don’t have any problems with each other, but the guys have problems. They are discussing how the fighting came about, and within that discussion there is a flashback scene where they talk about how it all stems from an argument over Elton John and Princess Diana. This evolved into this long-standing terrible argument between the guys and is why the fighting has happened.

Camille says “why don’t we try to withhold sex until the guys make it up?” The other two women say “that is the stupidest idea we have ever heard. That is completely passive-aggressive. Where did you read this?” But she wins them over and convinces them that they should try this, even though the dolls say they think this is stupid.

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe

In the second act the guys come over. The women are all asleep in the beautiful four-poster bed, and their boyfriends turn up in the middle of the night. They are drunk, the wake the girls up, and they all go up to the rooftop patio. There are long arguments on the rooftop patio, which concludes with Naomi falling off the rooftop patio and dying.

XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe

During the third act, which is the final act of the opera, the focus is completely on Camille and Mike. They are alone, after the ambulance has come and taken Naomi’s body away. They argue. He tries to bully her into having sex with him, tries to emotionally blackmail her into having sex with him, and then he rapes her. So, it ends with a date-rape scene.

During this part of the opera, the instructions to the trombonist are to relate the plot of the opera as they understand it. This is a recording where Andrew Digby was the trombonist. I never spoke to Andrew about what to do there, I wanted him to relate it in his own “words”. I told him “just look at the materials and understand them as you want, and then simply relate your understanding”. He wrote it out to read aloud, he wanted to be precise. In subsequent performances, different trombonists spoke off-the-cuff, had different approaches. It was important to me that there was a version of the story being told that I had no control over, that I was hearing a version of the opera through somebody else’s understanding.

There is a lot of very aggressive stuff going on in the sound initially: I have a lot of recordings of car crashes and car chases in the electronics. There are a lot of multiphonics in the clarinet at times. Andrew Sparling, who is playing the clarinet, is almost about to break the instrument open, really over-driving it. The musicians themselves at times are shouting or have Dictaphones and are furiously fast-forwarding and rewinding the tapes. The musicians shout out to one another, mess with these tapes in a very violent way, go back to their instruments.

As the rape progresses, I did not want to have standard, violent, aggressive, noisy music. I don’t mean noisy in any sort of derogatory way—I love noise—but I wanted to have something that I felt really was deeply, deeply uneasy. The music that I wrote sounds like daytime television music, and I wanted there to be this contrast between these super aggressive, noisy, distorted sounds from the Dictaphones, instruments, the shouting, the car crashes and this quite chipper, upbeat daytime television music, which would provide a quite horrific contrast between what you were seeing on the screens and what you were hearing.

The two puppeteers also begin to fight one another in this scene also. They start doing what a kid would do if you are playing with a toy, and another kid starts doing something with the toy the kid doesn’t like—they would naturally slap that kid’s hands away from the toy, try to move the toy away. With the puppeteers, we worked on this idea of them initially fighting one another, and then there coming this point of acquiescence, where one of the puppeteers has to abandon Camille. One puppeteer is managing Mike, the other puppeteer is managing Camille, and there is a point where Camille’s puppeteer steps back. She always said that she felt horrible at that moment, because she was leaving Camille to her fate. She was giving up and allowing the doll to be raped.

This point was absolutely key for me, because if you read memoirs by rape survivors—and I read a lot when I was working on the opera—what survivors always talk about is that there is a point where they acquiesced, in order to live, in order to survive. It is often very difficult to live with the fact that there was a point where they just thought “maybe if I let this happen, I might be able to get away, I might survive, I might be able to escape.” So that point was absolutely key.

The singers during this part are putting their hands down their throats. I have very often performed one of the vocal parts here, you end up with saliva running down your entire forearms. It smells really horrible. We all know that smell from wearing a mask over the last year and a half, or what it feels like to smell your own breath for hours on a plane. You are drooling all over yourself, because the singers are trying to gag themselves, make themselves retch. So, you have these horrible sounds going on in the background. The other key point that I really wanted to make is that Mike never comes—he just can’t ejaculate. The opera concludes with it ongoing in the middle of all that. It becomes quite brutal.

It is quite interesting looking back on a work that I have not given a presentation about in a long time because there has been a lot of other work I have done in the interim. But it is a work that has come back for me in many ways. I wrote the work in 2003 with Apartment House, and we performed it quite a lot between 2003 and 2011. I have not done it with Apartment House since then. But starting in about 2016, interest in the work picked up again and younger ensembles became interested in it, like Mocrep in Chicago and No Hay Banda in Montreal. Then Klangforum Wien wanted to do it and they commissioned a puppetry company in Vienna to build an entire set. They built scaled-up versions of all the dolls as puppets but styled like Barbie—it was amazing.

Seeing the work again over the last couple of years has been very interesting. When I initially did it, some of the reviewers completely misread the rape scene and said it was just a romance scene or sex scene, or something like that. Members of the audience couldn’t believe that some people could sort of parse it like that. The way that the opera is discussed now is very, very different to how some of the discussion happened in the early 2000s.

I remember comments from composers in 2003, saying things like the sex scene at the end was funny. Whereas now, with a new generation coming in and all the discussions that we have been having since #MeToo—and even before that, about gender-based violence and sexual violence—those discussions are much more nuanced. It is interesting to see the work again with this younger generation. I feel very privileged that I get to see that with this work because, to be honest, when I wrote it, I was really trying to metabolise some of these experiences from my twenties and not being sure what had happened in certain situations. Neither me, nor my friends, being able to articulate a sense of unease we had, versus senses of definitive wrongdoing— all of these grey, smudged, blurry areas.

In the years since, I have written a lot of works that have dealt with violence in different ways. There are works that do not have decent documentation because they were performed once, back before ubiquitous smartphones. There is a work that I made in 2010, focussing on the sort of hyper-masculine violence we see in Hollywood movies, called Lashings of the Old Ultra-V, written for the male voices of the Neue Vocalsolisten in Stuttgart. During the work, the performers are pulling guns on one another, they end all wearing balaclavas and singing barbershop quartets. There is a scene where one of them waterboards one of the other members of the quartet. There is no proper documentation of this work. But the themes came back again, and again.

Training is the Opposite © and courtesy Jennifer Walshe

Another work I made from 2014 is called Training is the Opposite. This marks a shift that began to happen in new music, in where you could go and how you would put something together. 2014 for me is a watershed point because Training is the Opposite—Laura Bowler sings the main role—is an opera about boxing. I said to Laura, “would you learn to box for this?” And she said, “that is what I want to do”, so she learned to box and ended up doing proper boxing matches as a result of training for this role. The discussions that I had with Laura and our advisor, Cathy “The Bitch” Brown, who is an ex-World Champion boxer, advised us on how to stage the opera, how Laura had to train her body, what it means to hit somebody—what it means for a woman to hit a woman, a woman to hit a man, a man to hit a man or a man to hit a woman, all these different things—these discussions were fascinating for me.

ULTRACHUNK (2018) was commissioned by Somerset House Studios with the support of the Case Foundation. Photograph © Anne Tetzlaff

A lot of the work that I am doing at the moment deals with artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning. It is work where the violence is about how personhood, how a sense of identity is constructed in a technological context. In 2018 I made ULTRACHUNK in collaboration with Memo Akten, a Turkish artist and technologist.[2] For this piece I spent a year making short videos of myself improvising and Memo made six different neural networks that work in conjunction. The system is called Grannma—Granular Neural Music and Audio with Magnitude Networks. When I perform with the system live, it generates video and audio of me in real time, unprocessed. It is not sampled. It is generated frame-by-frame at about 20 frames per second, about 44,000 audio samples per second.

One of the reasons I am interested in machine learning and I am working a lot in that space at the moment, is because this is where I really do see the most potential for bias, for exclusion— for the state and other institutions to exercise a “soft” violence against the individual. Absolute day-to-day problems, from the politicians that are elected through whether somebody gets parole or not, to whether somebody is allowed to buy a house or not. Rules are constructed that emerge from the network’s understanding of the data, rather than human beings intervening and going through the data on a case-by-case basis.

When projects like ULTRACHUNK function, I am getting the enjoyment as a musician of interacting with a network whose results I cannot predict. I have a rough idea, a rough sense of its latent space. In this case, it is this hundred-dimensional hyper-sphere that the network is navigating, making choices on a grain-by-grain basis about which path it is going to follow. I am aware that as a musician it is a privilege, a joyous thing for me to be on stage with something like ULTRACHUNK and navigate that space together. But I am also aware that when I approach the immigration gates at the airport, a similar process is deciding whether the passport control gates are going to let me through or not. Because our lives and what is possible with them is very much embedded in these systems.

The only thing that ULTRACHUNK has ever known is videos of me. The only language it can communicate in is by making images and sounds that it connects with data it was trained on. Everything that you hear is generated live, but that happens as a result of training—the dataset consisting only of videos of me improvising. So ULTRACHUNK is both me and also not me. It feels very much to me like a type of transspecies communication, and I think not just of Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto” (1985) but also her Companion Species Manifesto (2003) as a framework for thinking about these non-human intelligences that are other, but open for us to interact with.

I have noticed some people find the video really overwhelming to watch because it is using what we call generative adversarial networks (GANs). With these GANs I sometimes have two pairs of eyes or three sets of teeth, or something like that. My personhood, or my sense of bodily autonomy, is being ripped apart by ULTRACHUNK, because it starts to split that apart. It is of course really fun, aesthetically, to mess around with that stuff. And of course, it sort of looks like Francis Bacon’s paintings, so there is a clear art-world lineage that we can trace, from surrealism on through people like Bacon, to GAN-produced art.

The last thing I would say is the sound of ULTRACHUNK is interesting to me because it is full of artefacts. Somebody who is classically trained, who does not listen, for example, to Merzbow, is going to have problems with ULTRACHUNK, because what they hear is a signal that is not clear, that is distorted, that has extra overtones in the series, noise that is disrupting the clarity of the signal. When ULTRACHUNK tries to replicate my voice, it is trying to carve away everything from a block of white noise that does not sound like the sound that it wants to make. Inevitably, little bits are left over. That’s how the artefacts are created—they are directly linked not just to the technology, but to the current state of the technology. This artefact-laden GAN sound hopefully will be solved soon enough, and like all aesthetics, I think at some point people will get all retro about it. It’ll be like vaporwave ten years from now.

I am perfectly happy to be ripped apart by the sound. I am perfectly happy to dance in the gyre, as W.B. Yeats would say, and have that sense of sound washing over me and ripping apart my own voice, because that is what I am hearing with ULTRACHUNK—I am hearing a version of myself being ripped apart.


  1. In a conference that is dealing with violence, I will talk about rape. If that is not something you feel comfortable listening to me, please go away, have a cup of tea and come back later. That is what the Barbie opera is about—it is about rape, so please take whatever steps you need.
  2. See [accessed 2022-06-04].