Interactive Sound Installation

conductive thread, custom electronics, speakers, wood, silver bead

Naomi Kaly & Alyssa Casey

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2nd Prize Winner in Future Places - Digital Media Festival

“Based on their observation that the Dom Luis I Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge roughly reflect one another across a horizontal axis, their elegant project explores the thin line where two different linguistic and cultural territories can connect and engage in conversation. The engaging and very tactile project allows for user created conversation, as well as deep reflection on the metaphor of wire in today’s digital society.” Jurors Hugh Forrest, Karen Kocher and Cristina Sá

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Oporto-Broolyn Bridge is an interactive installation, making room for a “thought bridge” that creates a hybrid Oporto-Brooklyn community. The fruit of an ongoing collaboration between Naomi Kaly, an Israeli New Media artist, and Alyssa Casey, an American painter and paper maker, the installation explores ways in which technology fosters new forms of communication, meant to bridge cultural, linguistic and ethnic gaps.

Based on the observation that the Dom Luis I Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge roughly reflect one another across a horizontal axis, the installation for Future Places evokes a confluence of voices from both locations. In place of the horizontal “roadway” of each bridge are conductive threads with encoded audio that symbolically connects the two remote sites.

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Prior to the festival, and in consideration of Heidegger’s interpretation of a bridge (“The bridge is a location),” a group of pedestrians, representing a diversity of cultures, genders and ages, were asked to stop for a short interview while crossing the Brooklyn bridge. Questions were designed to reflect personal interpretations of the notion of bridge. Individuals were encouraged to go beyond the actual definition, to imagine and describe their fantasy bridge: “Given unlimited resources (time, materials) what would be your fantasy bridge? Where would it lead? What would it be made of? what would be the shape? How would you call it?” Upon arriving to Oporto, we conducted the same process over the Dom Luis 1 bridge. Final fragments of audio—syllables, words and sentences- collected, processed, and edited— were merged into a hybrid conversational space: local visitors bring to life distant people and remote locations, challenging notions of community, proximity, connection, and interaction.

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Sliding a small bead along the conductive threads, participants trigger a program that scans, deciphers, and plays the encoded audio; walking to the west or east reveals sections of English or Portuguese audio respectively. The conductive thread is mapped into sections each encoding a pair of English and Portuguese audio tracks that creating a dialogue carefully selected according to content, identity of the speaker, or voice intonation. For example, the final portuguese track, spoken by an elderly gentleman, “Now I'm waiting for the last bridge to take me to the other side” pairs with a young woman, “To see the people from your past”. The illusorily continuous audio offers points of transition; hardware and software allow readers to explore and manipulate the usually inaccessible intersections between two tongues: unfamiliar sounds emerge, new language is born. Sliding the bead along the conductive strings, visitors construct the Oporto-Brooklyn Bridge: linear gesture is translated into a non-linear sonic narrative; the audience decodes the hidden audio, unfolding a multilingual and multicultural intricate oral web of urbanism.

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Ever geared toward higher efficiency, technology elevated the computer as the main arena for communication. Virtual human interaction is instant and immediate: to ‘chat’, ‘share’, and ‘meet’ occurs over the network, predominantly remaining, however, within familiar social and cultural boundaries. The installation suggests an alternative form of connection: “From right here we may even be much nearer to that bridge and to what it makes room for than someone who uses it daily as an indifferent river crossing”… (Heidegger, “Building, Dwelling, Thinking”).

First in a series of installations that connect pairs of remote locations around the world, the Oporto-Brooklyn Bridge makes room for a “thought bridge”: a productive platform for freedom, tolerance, and mutual exchange. We envision a unified “fantasy bridge”, coalescing these linear bridges into an organic, multi-axial network.

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Naomi Kaly is a New Media artist based in New York. Her work explores the deconstruction and reconstruction of traditional conventions related to language. She uses electronics and digital tools to foster new forms of communication, meant to bridge cultural, linguistic and physical gaps. Naomi’s work has been presented nationally and internationally, including FILE, the major art and technology festival in Brazil and Latin America, RISD Routes at Fuller Museum, and The 8th Biennial Exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. She is a receiver of the 2009 BAC Award, and the Artscape Public Art commission. She holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science, BA in Design (with Honors), and MFA in Digital Media from RISD, the Rhode Island School of Design (With Honors).

Originally from California, Alyssa Casey lives and works in New York. Having graduated from UC Berkeley with a double major in Fine Arts and Biology, and a minor in Geography, she combines art, science, and disparate geographies in surprising and subtle ways, using papermaking, drawing and new media to express these connections. Alyssa received a grant from the US Embassy, Department of Cultural Affairs in Lisbon to complete the project, California – Alentejo, shown at Escrita na Paisagem, Festival of Performance Art in Évora. With a scientific approach, this project involves drawings recorded in two travel journals, posed as “data” comparing the characteristic nuances of each location. Amongst other international and national venues, Alyssa’s work has been shown in Works of Art on Paper at the Long Beach Island Foundation for Arts and Sciences, curated by Carter Foster of the Whitney Museum Department of Drawings, and in Furthermore – The 8th Biennial Exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery, curated by Lilly Wei. In collaboration, Alyssa and Naomi Kaly hold an Artscape Public Art Commission 2009/10 for the project Pittsfield Magica.

www.naomikaly.com www.alyssacasey.com

exhibition/naomi_kaly_alyssa_casey.txt · Last modified: 2009/11/30 03:43 by participant
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