RENEW 2013

The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology

Riga / October 8 – 11, 2013

"Geospatial" Participants


Voices from the Revolution


Panel:Panel A


Venue:Stockholm School of Economics, Room 311

On January 27th, 2011 Egyptian authorities succeeded in shutting down the country’s international Internet access points in response to growing protests. Over one weekend, a group of programmers developed a platform called Speak2Tweet that would allow Egyptians to post their breaking news on Twitter via voicemail despite Internet cuts. The result was thousands of heartfelt messages from Egyptians recording their emotions by phone. With the prevalence of social media platforms, one has become accustomed to written forms of communication; but even with the evolution of written expressions, text messages cannot convey emotions in the same way that the sound of the voice can. The voice allows the listener to discern meaning through intonation, timbre, resonance, pitch, and so on, all absent in written form. Text is dislocated from its origin, lacking in the unspoken meanings that can be inferred through voice. An accumulation of emotionally moving recordings preserved the moments of the fragile emotional state of the Egyptian psyche through the sound of voice. Speak2Tweet played a very special role that was particular to the time it was launched. While it didn’t necessarily serve the practical functions that Facebook and Twitter fulfilled, it nevertheless composed a unique archive of the collective psyche. As the voices disappear in the depths of cyberspace, what remains is an interesting sound archive, buried in the depths of Internet noise

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