OPN Studio – The Pure Voice

a project carried out at WRO
residency EMAP Expanded 2022

OPN Studio – The Pure Voice

a project carried out at WRO
residency EMAP Expanded 2022

The EMAP/EMARE program is co-financed by the “Creative Europe” program of the European Union.

This project was supported by a grant from Acción Cultural Española (AC/E)

In collaboration with:


The Pure Voice is a project based on a social context research, giving as a result an interactive installation where All visitors will have the opportunity to free their voices of normative gender, by their own perception, achieving a neutral voice or beyond, acquiring new nuances.

Neutrality or fluidity in pitch, being applied to the current social categorization of normative gender, results the start of the perfect genderless voice. “The Pure Voice”. An unlabeled voice. A pure voice because, in essence, we All are water. The installation uses, as a recode element, something as pure and relative to human being as water. The water acts as a transmitter medium, purifying and stripping categorizations, showing the human essence. The live voice of the participants passes through it, providing the neutral or fluid essence, deleting gender bias. The key element “the poetry” is represented by a digital water audio spectro showing visitor voices interaction.


The project focuses its attention on undoing gender. Because as Judith Butler stated (2006), “Gender is a social construct”.

Butler’s claim about gender performativity posits that, gender is not naturally assigned but is made up of the acts that mark a person as “man” or “woman” (dress, mannerisms, etc.). And it is through the repetition of those gendered acts that the illusion of a stable gender identity is created. These acts are reproduced through established norms and controlled by institutional powers that tell us how to perform as a man and how not to perform as a man and how to perform as a woman and how not to perform as a woman. This performance generates the retroactive illusion of an existing gender inner core.

But we are not talking about war, we are talking about love. And everyone deserves to love themselves. For this reason, society needs to open its mind within a scene of constraint.

Therefore, The Pure Voice – Undoing Gender, starts from neutrality and fluidity as a strategy to denaturalize and resignify bodily categories. Under Butler’s performative theory, it is proposed neutralization and decategorization through the voice and its distortion/modulation as a channeler to disrupt the categories of the body, sex, gender, and sexuality, and occasion their subversive resignification and proliferation beyond the binary frame.

To achieve it, in-depth research through diverse biomechanical parameters was conducted in collaboration with The Official College of Speech and Language Therapists of Madrid. Where feminization, masculinization, and neutralization of the voice through the manipulation of the larynx, the resonators, the length of the throat, the vocal cords among other anatomical morphologies were given special emphasize.

Click here to read an excerpt of an interview with OPN Studio.

Susana Ballesteros and Jano Montañés are OPN Studio. Their experimental work during the last decade has explored the intersection between the fields of Art, Science and Technology, being articulated through the language of electronics, robotics, video and interactive installation. Recent shows include NTMOFA Taiwan National Museum of Fine Arts, Würth Museum, LACDA Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Kapelica Gallery, ARS Electronica.