Dry Translator, a sculptural installation piece, is built in response to new trends in \’smart architecture.\’ Smart technology is being created for enhanced human interaction and control of one’s work and home environments. Interestingly what excites many is not the necessarily the enhancement of control, but really more the idea of intelligent responsiveness and heightened personal connection with the rooms they inhabit.
Dry Translator is taking this idea of responsiveness to an exaggerated degree. The idea is to create an environment so sensitive to human presence that a touch to its walls sends resonant vibrations throughout the bodies of its occupants. Whereas normally people acknowledge the presence of walls in a building as merely types of boundaries or surfaces, this piece allows them to engage with walls in newly intimate ways such as touching, patting, scratching, talking to or yelling at, and even \’playing\’ the walls as instruments. And, it also allows them to use the walls as sorts of touch messaging devices.
The piece includes two custom designed audio vests (which gallery visitors are invited to put on) and an interactive wall. Essentially what occurs with this piece is that when a participant touches the wall in the gallery, they hear the sound of their touch not locally where their fingers hit the wall, but actually on their own torso (via the vest). Inside of the wall there are several wired tentacles (picup mics) that act like stethoscopes. These are able to pick up the slightest vibrations within the drywall material. Sounds from participants touch on the wall are greatly amplified and transmitted wirelessly to the vests. The wall consequently becomes a skin-like extension of the participant’s own body. In touching the wall, their touch is mirrored back onto their torso. Participants may also record a series of touches or gestures on the wall via an interactive consol and thereby leave a message for the next participant to play back on the vest.
Wall Dimensions: 99\”h x 21\”w 74.5\”d
Materials: vests, vest stands, and recharging box for vests, custom electronics
This project is partially supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency (2001).
Vest construction by SOMA, Sound composed by Sabrina Raaf and D. Edward Davis.