In Sounds That Divide Us (2020), Julia Fairbrother presents ten countries’ national anthems with the highest absolute number of deaths due to COVID-19. Using computational algorithms to process mortality data, the artist captures sonic changes determined by the number of cases and mortality rates reported by each country as indicated daily by the World Health Organization (WHO). The result is a sonic experience that forces us to question nationalistic narratives amid a global pandemic that spares the competently governed.
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Julia Fairbrother is an interdisciplinary artist whose work challenges the social, political, and economic processes associated with the evolution of science and technology. Her work primarily uses a combination of performative sound, computational algorithms, circuit bending, abstract visuals, and interactive sculptural art. She utilizes these technologies to comment on the hyperactive culture that technology industries have cultivated and the driving tensions between digital media’s engrossing pleasures and violence. This exploration has pushed Fairbrother into questioning how technology’s origins have interwoven themselves into our daily interactions. Fairbrother holds a BFA in Art and Technology from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her recent exhibitions include New People’s Cinema, The Untitled Art Fair & The Center for New Music.