alien productions and Machfeld

XT (2007)

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The process of crosstalking (XT) is the point of departure for the conjoint 40-minute performance of the artists' collectives alien productions and Machfeld (Sabine Maier and Michael Mastrototaro).

In telecommunication and telephony, crosstalk is often distinguishable as pieces of speech leaking from other people's connections - hence the name, and is caused by a simple physical process: a wire pair represents a resonant circuit, thus it can serve as sender as well as receiver of electrical fields. If an electrical signal, for instance a speech signal, is transmitted via a wire pair which, with multiple other pairs of conductors, is lead within one cable, this signal strays into other wire pairs.

alien productions and Machfeld use this - normally unwanted - effect for their (live) performance which is based exclusively on spoken word. They speak into microphones, and by doing so trigger technical devices like sythesizers, vocoders, stylus printers or granular synthesis programs or dot matrix printers, which in turn start "crosstalking". With the original signal gated out for the audience, as well as the artists themselves, only the sound events of the machines, processed in real time, are audible.

In its structure, XT is based on the four techniques of Xiangsheng, a traditional Chinese form of performance art which originally emerged from imitating the speech and behaviour of another person. The four techniques are: speaking, imitating, bantering, and singing.

The artists speak with eachother, they speak about eachother, and they crosstalk eachother; and, in the end, they will listen to the machines, and what they have to say.

A video documentation of the performance is aviable at

For Kunstradio, alien productions and Machfeld conceived a radiophonic version in 5.1 surround sound of their performance. A stereo mixdown, aviable here, was also selected as the Austrian contribution to the European Art Radio Festival 2007 produced by the Portuguese Radio corporation.

First broadcast on January 28, 2007 on Ö1 Kunstradio.