“I am sitting in a machine;” is an algorithmic work that begins with a recording of an artificial human voice reciting a text which is then run through an MP3 encoder over and over again. With each iteration of the loop, one may hear the artefacts of the encoding process reinforcing themselves and gradually distorting the artificial human voice by revealing its data format.

The work is a hommage to composer Alvin Lucier’s 1969 piece I Am Sitting in a Room. The work consists of two parts. The first part is a limited edition, 30 unit dubplate vinyl. The second is a web page application distributed via the Internet. In both renderings, there are 32 tracks selected from 3000 successive iterations of the 128 kbps 44.1 kHz MP3 encoding.

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Martin Backes, born in 1977 in Germany, is a Berlin-based artist, creative technologist, director, hacker and composer. He studied Media Art & Design as well as Sound Studies at the University of Arts in Berlin. In his works, he often uses media technologies to reflect certain functionalities, effects, ideologies and human perception, playing with the ambiguity between the physical world and the digital realm, reflecting the blurred boundaries between analog and digital, reality and simulation, stability and disruption, figure and abstraction. Backes cross-border and experimental field of activity ranges from augmented reality (AR) and multimedia sound works to theatre dance pieces and installations, as well as sculptural and computer/video works. His work has been shown at numerous international museums, festivals, galleries and theatres.