With the overuse of radio frequency bands for wireless communications,
there comes the increased occurrence of crossed lines where a private
conversation becomes accidentally shared. To create this interactive
sound piece, Saturday, I used walkie talkies, CB radios, and various
other forms of consumer spy (or security) technology in
order to actively harvest such communication leaks. Saturday forms a
uniquely intimate portrait of the community of Humboldt Park, Chicago
through a composite presentation of conversations stolen on Saturdays
in the park. Saturday is a sound based artwork that participants experience
through a custom designed glove interface.
When I began working with wireless sound technology, I was started
by the sheer quantity of non-phone, low tech, radio transmissions that
were constantly being sent around my neighborhood. Humboldt Park is
a lower income, racially mixed neighborhood of Chicago. The transmissions
included communications between gang members on street corners nearby
and group conversations between friends talking about changes in the
neighborhood and their families. There were raw, intimate conversations
and often even late night sex talk between potential lovers. There is
a furtive quality to most of these conversations and also a particular
daringness in their tone. During the series of Saturdays, I also recorded
the sounds of my neighborhood the women singing out their windows
to their radios, the young men in their low rider cars circling the
block, the children, the ice cream carts, etc. These are the sounds
that are mixed in the piece. And, these are the sounds that literally
drip from participants fingertips in Saturday.
Saturday is presented in the form of an interactive glove. In order
to hear the audio, participants magically just press their fingertips
to their forehead and they hear the sound without the use of their ears.
The glove is outfitted with leading edge audio electronic devices called
bone transducers which make this possible. These transducers
transmit sound in a very unusual fashion. They translate sound into
vibration patterns which resonate through bone. This is the same process
as the natural hammer and anvil system inside our inner ears which allows
us to perceive sound. Since the bone transducer does all this work artificially,
it allows you to hear crisp audio without it being played out loud or
through headphones. So, even if a user covered their ears and then placed
their fingers to their temples, they still hear the sound.
No sound at all is heard by anyone but the participant at any time.