Sonic Networks by Edwardo Kac

Dialogical Drawing

More work by Edwardo Kac, again of course fitting in with the idea of networks but also this time specifically communication through audio or vocal means.

Dialogical Drawing (image above) is a two part networked art object, sculptural almost totemesque in form, which enables two viewers to communicate between two distinct spaces. The scenario is as follows:

At first the viewer contemplates the piece in the same manner that she normally looks at wall-mounted works of art. The viewer stands at a comfortable distance and sees a composition of lines, circles, and rectangles created with circuit boards, wires, microphone, and speaker embedded on a vertical mahogany piece. Because the viewer does not see antennae or external wires, she considers the piece a discrete art object, like a painting or sculpture. Soon, however, the viewer notices that sounds are in fact coming from the speaker. The viewer moves closer to the piece and listens more closely. Surprised, the viewer realizes that the sounds are human voices coming live from another location. Ceasing to contemplate the object, the viewer now engages the other viewer co-present in a remote location. Both viewers start an improvised dialogue which constitutes, in essence, the “drawing” alluded to in the title of the piece.

Essay Concerning Human Understanding diagram

Essay Concerning Human Understanding (diagram above, image below) takes it’s title from one of John Locke’s essays concerned with how the human mind acquires knowledge through experience (that old Nature vs. Nurture bag). It is a:

live, bi-directional, interactive, telematic, interspecies sonic installation…

in which:

a canary dialogues over a regular phone line with a plant (Philodendron) 600 miles away…
By enabling an isolated and caged animal to have a telematic conversation with a member of another species, this installation dramatized the role of communication and telecommunications in human lives. The inter-species communicative experience observed in the gallery reflects our own longing for interaction, our desire to reach out and stay in touch. This interactive installation is as much about creating art for non-humans as it is about human isolation and loneliness, and about the very possibility of communication. As this piece projects the complexities of electronically mediated human communication over non-human organisms, it surprisingly reveals aspects of our own communicative experience. This interaction is as dynamic and unpredictable as a human dialogue.

Note: Essay Concerning Human Understanding has a striking similarity to Botanicalls (previously posted about here).

Essay Concerning Human Understanding photo