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Michel Auder (b. 1944)

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Voyage to the Center of the Phone Lines (1993)

Duration: 52'44"

Voyage's structure is simple. Coastal landscape footage and spectacular sunsets are combined with phone conversations recorded from a scanner that picks up cordless phone frequencies.

The result is a touching reflection on the tawdry but tender world of human affairs. Although Voyage is non-narrative, Auder chose to begin the work with a lengthy excerpt of conversation between two devout Christians. This establishes the work's overarching conceptual tone.

The discrepancy between image and sound is analogous to that between heaven and earth. Set within the context of paradise lost, the chatter comes across as the displaced prayers of mortals. (If God is listening, one can only hope she is forgiving of New York accents.)

The degrees of humor, despair and desperation vary, lending Voyage a range of moods. Irony and omniscience, however, are dispelled by the fact that to listen is to sympathize at which point it becomes clear that this is no judgment seat, it's a mirror.