Helena Sorokina

Singer Wien, Österreich 23 Follower

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Already since more than a year the whole world fights hand in hand against one enemy – invisible, sly, versatile and dangerous – called Covid-19 that most literally takes our breath away. Every day the whole media and the main part of daily news is being filled with the information about this virus and its consequences. And still there is one part of us that feels too safe as long as we have no symptoms. On the other side of the society there are people that haven’t left their homes for a whole year because of the huge fear from the unknown beast. This project is an attempt to raise the society’s awareness through the fusion of arts and science. On one hand the visualization and understanding of the process of the infection in the cognitive level through arts and music helps to loosen the shock-induced paralysis and on the other hand the artistically processed knowledge raises awareness on the unconscious level and shows the attacker as real and co-existing. Our goal is to bring this artwork, which is about 7-10 minutes long, to a wide audience, that may not currently have access to the live music and art locally, but has access to the viral world, through the distribution of this material on the Internet (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.).

Science (Marija Sorokina): visualization and modeling of the ACE2 and Spike protein bound and virus mutations

Music (Linda Leimane): sound mutation from one acoustic voice into the electronically distorted and multiplicated crowd

Voice and project coordination (Helena Sorokina): mutation from spoken voice into singing and extended vocal techniques including multiphonics

Video (Viktors Keino): mutation of the scientifical model designed by Marija Sorokina into a fascinating and constantly changing world out of protein models’ particles

Inter – undefined space between the consciousness and unconsciousness
Voicing – luxury of being possible to use breath not only for existential but also for artistic purposes
Sp – Spike protein (viral enemy)
ACE – angiotensin converting enzyme 2 or ACE2 (human entrance door for the virus that can be open or closed)

Global outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic struck the world posing a threat to global health and economy. Covid-19 likewise as flu and many other viruses is an RNA virus. These viruses are known to change in a rapid way. The changes happen during replication, or “copying” of the viral genetic code. These changes are called “mutations” and the viral particles with modified genetic code are called “variants”. Some of these variants are more infectious as the original virus. In case of Covid-19, infection starts with binding of the virus to a human cell. This binding is enabled through the huge viral Spike protein which protrudes from the viral membrane into the outer space. Spike protein binds human protein, angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the protein which serves as an entry point for the coronavirus to enter and infect humans [1]. Therefore, mutations of the Spike protein are the source of the highest threat to human health. At the moment, scientists around the world are focusing on the investigation of mutations happening in Covid-19 as well as on analyzation of ACE2 protein mutations which can be found in human population [1].
Our team member Marija Sorokina with her co-workers and co-operators at the University of Halle started research on this topic in the March 2020. In their work they build models of variants of ACE2 bound to Spike protein refined with short molecular dynamics’ simulations. The resulting models from all refinement-runs and their energetics are available in online structure viewer at:
This research led already to two publications focused on mutations of ACE2 which can be found in human population [2] as well as in various animals [3]. This work will accelerate the design of therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 as well as contribute to prevention of possible future coronaviruses outbreaks.
[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/the-effects-of-virus-variants-on-covid-19-vaccines?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1KLNz6Wh8AIVDc53Ch0LcAqSEAAYASAAEgJpsfD_BwE
[2] M. Sorokina et al. (2020). Sci Data 7, 309.
[3] JPGLM Rodrigues et al. (2020). PLoS Comput Biol 16, 12.

Composer Linda Leimane in a close and continuous collaboration with the classical experimental contemporary singer, performer and extended vocal techniques’ explorer and researcher Helena Sorokina (alto) is going to explore the voice down to its “molecules” (or bits) thus obtaining a vast field of resources for further mutational processes in a new and hybrid audiovisual work, where four different media – acoustic voice, electronics, science and video art – closely converge. Pure voice with the powerful breath, that can be seen as a pure luxury in these times, when so many people are fighting for their lives and struggling with breathing, will be subject to extension from the acoustic into the digital realm via the use of the electronic processing techniques based on segmentation, fragmentation and reconstruction of sounds such as scrubbing, blocks technique, slicing and granular synthesis. Different spatialization configurations will play an important role in diffusion of the voice, and the core of the electronics will be nothing but a voice in its purest form, traversing the timeline through various algorithms of mutations, gradually multiplicating in a total polyphony. By stretching, molding and transforming the continuum of sonic events, we will modulate to a new perception based in motion within timbre. The singer will be equipped with sensors connected to her body providing the digital data for mutations.

The video artist Viktors Keino will provide bold visual experience, creating space for the mutational processes to unfold in time, both streaming the digital data of the singer's body real-time and using the scientific data as the starting point for visual forms, colors and textures.

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About Helena Sorokina


Die in Wien lebende Mezzosopranistin Helēna Sorokina wurde in Riga, der Hauptstadt Lettlands, geboren. Erste musikalische Erfahrungen sammelte sie ab dem Alter von 5 Jahren auf der Geige, am Klavier und im Chorgesang. Von 2010 bis 2019 studierte sie Gesang an der Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz sowie seit 2014 Gesangspädagogik. Seit 2021 ist sie Doktorandin der Künstlerisch-Wissenschaftlichen Doktoratschule der Kunstuniversität Graz. Sie ist regelmäßig als Konzertsängerin für die EuropaChorAkademie und verschiedene Orchester (u.a. Israel Chamber Orchestra, Symphoniker Hamburg, Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha, Ornamentum Wien, Georgisches Kammerorchester Ingolstadt etc.) im In- und Ausland tätig. Sie sang die Altpartien u.a. in Bachs Weihnachtsoratorium, Händels Messiah, Bruchs Das Lied von der Glocke und Mendelssohns Paulus in einigen der größten Konzertsälen Deutschlands, Italiens und Österreichs in Zusammenarbeit mit Dirigenten wie u.a. Sir Roger Norrington, Joshua Rifkin, Paolo Paroni, Joshard Daus, Johannes Prinz und Beat Furrer. Dank ihres absoluten Gehörs konnte sie 2013 eine der Hauptrollen (1. Frau) in der Uraufführung der Oper Asteroid 62 von Dmitri Kourliandski und 2016 die Altpartie in der Uraufführung der Opernperformance Paradise von Laure M. Hiendl im Rahmen vom Musikprotokoll im Steirischen Herbst gestalten. Als Solistin trat sie u.a. im Rahmen vom Internationalen Brucknerfest Linz 2014 (EntArteOpera), im Stadttheater Leoben und in der Oper in der Krypta Wien auf. Sie sang u.a. Rollen wie Anita (West Side Story), Prinz Orlofsky (Fledermaus), Mercedes (Carmen), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Lola (Cavalleria Rusticana) und Polina (Pique Dame). Regelmäßig veranstaltet sie Liederabende, z.B. 2015 das Konzert Schattentheater mit Cembalo im Rahmen von Rigaer Festival für Alte Musik und Tanz oder 2016 das Konzert Himmlische Klänge und Stimmen im Rahmen von Linzer Höhenrausch. 2013 bis 2020 tratt sie mit Chanson-Programmen zusammen mit Prof. Karlheinz Donauer oder mit dem Jazzorchester Eddie Luis&die Gnadenlosen auf. Seit 2017 ist sie Altistin des Vokalensembles für Alte und Neue Musik Cantando Admont unter der Leitung von Cordula Bürgi. Mit diesem Ensemble gastierte sie u.a. bei den Salzburger Festspielen 2018, 2020 und 2021, Zeiträumen Basel, Musikfestival Bern, Gustav Mahler Musikwochen in Toblach, open music und die andere saite in Graz, Klangspuren Schwaz, Imago Festival Ljubljana, Musik und Kirche Brixen, Brücken_18, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Yale NUS College in Singapur, Musikfestival der Azoren und Sound of Wander in Mailand. 2022 sind Auftritte bei der Münchener Biennale, im Onassis Zentrum Athen, am Teatro Sao Luiz in Lissabon, im Concertgebouw Amsterdam und an der Deutschen Oper Berlin geplant. Seit 2018 hält sie Meisterkurse und Vorlesungen zu dem Thema Zeitgenössische Vokalmusik auf universitärem Niveau, z. B. an der New York University oder University of California Berkeley und Davis in den USA. Seit 2020 entwickelt und präsentiert sie das Projekt VOICE.ONLY, ein mutige zeitgenössische Konzertreihe und ein Forschungsprojekt, das sich mit den verschiedensten Facetten der Stimme solo oder in Kombination mit Einzelinstrumenten auseinandersetzt. Ein Teil daraus ist VOICE.ONLY: Shades of Solitude - ein Projekt mit neukomponierten Werken für eine Altstimme alleine, das sich mit dem Thema Alleinsein beschäftigt und auch 2022 mit neuen Ausgaben weitergeführt wird.