This room-scale mechatronic installation examines issues of meaning and expression from the oblique angle of childrenâ€™s pre-language. The room is populated 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, 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. This project was inspired by John Searleâ€™s â€œChinese Roomâ€ thought experiment, reflecting on the difference between expression and comprehension in humans and machines.
Shown at Gallery 4Culture, October 2015