My new project, The Serious Business of Children is showing at Gallery 4Culture for October 2015.
Robert Twomeyâ€™s room-scale mechatronic installation, The Serious Business of Children, examines issues of meaning and expression from the oblique angle of childrenâ€™s pre-language. Twomey populates his room with a number of speaking, listening, and drawing machines that communicate with one another using synthesized voices and drawings in a process of continuous translation from word to image. Audio recordings and childrenâ€™s drawings are the raw material of the system. They are analyzed by computer and re-synthesized by machines. The project uses childrenâ€™s early expressions as protolanguage, unintelligible in any conventional sense, but communicative in other registers.
Robert Twomeyâ€™s project was inspired by the notable American philosopher John Rogers Searle. Searle, whose expertise was in the philosophy of language, developed the â€œChinese roomâ€ argument to challenge the popular idea called â€œstrongâ€ artificial intelligence, that itâ€™s possible for a computer running a program to have a â€œmindâ€ or â€œconsciousnessâ€ (think Hal in 2001).