Category Archives: Installation

Fish Phone Booth at Without Walls 2024

We just wrapped a weekend presenting our Fish Phonebooth at Without Walls 2024. Underwater acoustics, immersive audio, haptic feedback, interspecies communication. This phone booth sound bath has it all. It was a tremendous show: we had everyone from young kids to 80 year olds to retired polar explorers experience the piece.

This is a playtest of a project Ash Eliza Smith and I are developing in partnership with Birch Aquarium and that La Jolla Playhouse.

More info here

Thank you Reid and Sam and all the team at(Alex, Hank, Olli, Lincoln, Kate) for your work making this happen. Can’t wait to see where it goes!

Convex Mirror

he set himself / With great art to copy all that he saw in the glass.

-John Ashbery Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

Resuming Parmigianino’s project of self-portraiture in our contemporary era, this project uses a CNC plotter, 180º circular fisheye lens, and custom software to record a layered image of place. Substituting computer vision and precision automation for the human eye and hand, this project operates at a physical precision and temporal duration beyond what is humanly possible. Laboring over a three-month period it produced a series of 6 site-specific drawings documenting the Amazon campus in downtown Seattle.

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Searle’s Room

This project is a response to John Searle’s Chinese Room. It explores child-writing and child-speech as protolanguages, unintelligible in any conventional linguistic sense but rife with poetic possibilities and communicative in other registers, on the level of shared biological and developmental experience. The system is composed of a number of static materials and two active agents: a child speech synthesis system, and a mechatronic child drawing apparatus. The system operates in cycles: synthesizing child speech, which is then interpreted and transcribed by speech recognition system, in turn launching the drawing machine into a round of additions to a cumulative drawing on the wall. As the cycle repeats, periodic bursts of child speech are followed by the sounds of stepper motors and pen-and-ink inscription.

Children’s voices were sourced from an online speech research database, and videos of children babbling and learning speaking their color words. Child drawings were gathered from a range of sources demonstrating different levels of representational and typographic development. My eye and hand were the means of data entry for the children’s drawings: I traced them into the system using the recording apparatus at left. This produced position-time series of pen motions which were broken apart and re-synthesized as the source data for the system’s machine drawings.

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Everyone as Someone I Know

Trained on images of friends, acquaintances, and role models, Everyone As Someone I Know  sees the world only in terms of people I know. As viewers’ faces are tracked in a live video screen, software grafts images from my database over their faces according to who they most resemble—re-editing identity, enabling a state of social play, and producing a novel visualization of a sociocultural network as an experimental interface device.

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Seven Segment Display

A large scale text device in the shape of the seven segment led, this scupture investigates the relationship between bodily experience and linguistic perception. The device is made from fluorescent shop lights, is fully programmable and controllable via computer terminal, and can be sent any variety of text. It is a surrogate electronic voice, delivering textual utterances on a grand scale (referencing corporate signage), suggesting large technological infrastructure (such as mainframe computers and server farms), and rendered partially incomprehensible due to its scale and the limits of its form. The piece creates a seductive sensory experience which invites the viewer to work deciphering coded messages.

Typically a numeric display, the seven segment form is severely limited in rendering text. I am interested in these formal limitations because of the resulting demands the piece makes on flexibility of perception for both viewer and writer. Communication through the Seven Segment Display requires understood conventions of abbreviation in the same manner as SMS messaging and the visual morphology of 1337 speak. Compounding this difficulty, the large scale of the piece makes perception an issue of physical perspective–up close the sculpture is more readily understood as sensory/perceptual experience than read as legible text. The viewer’s positioning of their body becomes instrumental in their interpretation of the piece.

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We aimed to (1) create a contemplative space for self-reflection, (2) create a mysterious second layer of technology, and (3) bring a sense of humor to the building. This installation was built in the Reconfigurable Studio #4 in the CalIT2 New Media Arts Wing for the building dedication ceremony.

With Carl Burton. CalIT2 Building Dedication Ceremony. October, 2006.

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