Alien Equipment
November 6, 2002 8:59 PM   Subscribe

Alien Equipment
Turning immigrants into cyborgs. A small video monitor and loudspeakers are installed at the center of the instrument and in front of the user's mouth. The monitor and the loudspeakers replace the real act of speech with an audio-visual broadcast of pre-recorded statements.
posted by riley370 (13 comments total)
god damn thats fucked up.
posted by delmoi at 9:29 PM on November 6, 2002

That's quite the concept mr. rileydog. I would imagine it must be most interesting to be one of Krzysztof Wodiczko's students. I'd heard of these projection projects.

I would imagine this is quite the sight to see, and I am glad you brought it to my attention lest I stumbled on the scene in Cambridge one day: "The presence of a group of Mouthpiece users is also essential. The image of a crowd of aliens appearing as if they have just landed from another planet (which happens to be our own) is most desireable."

Btw, love your blog!
posted by madamjujujive at 9:55 PM on November 6, 2002

Thank you Blort lady. Imagine a world where we all wore these without thought. Staff meetings and dating would be controlled to present little power points of ourselves.
posted by riley370 at 10:00 PM on November 6, 2002

Use this with a voice to text converter and an uplink to Eliza or Brian or any other Turing-like program.
posted by stbalbach at 10:53 PM on November 6, 2002

I want one!

Actually I want two small ones to make into goggles to stare at people with!
posted by hama7 at 11:17 PM on November 6, 2002

So delivering "pre-recorded, edited, electronically perfected and quicked searched statements, questions, answers, stories, etc." set up by some folks at MIT "points to the absurdity of any attempt at depriving speech rights in a democratic society."?

Seems to me it points to the arrogance of some profs at MIT.
posted by arse_hat at 12:22 AM on November 7, 2002

You can always pick out the talentless art students because they think "funny" is a good substitute for talent. At my university we had a grad school art student who put on a suit and set up a desk on a street corner with a sign "Will work for $30,000/yr + medical" and other wiseass lowball stuff. Used to get his picture in the paper all the time. Labor camps would be a good place for guys like that.
As a resident alien, I resent the asinine and stereotypical assumptions made by the writer.
posted by planetkyoto at 1:43 AM on November 7, 2002

You know, I was all set to defend this as the first halting step towards something better, we can't do real-time translation yet, blah blah blah, but then I saw:

In today's migration era, the wearer of the Porte-parole appears as a prophetic story-teller and a poetic interrupter of the continuity of established life in public space and dominant culture.

Uh-huh. Does he now.

And I like most of this cyborg philosophy stuff. But I'm not sure I see a tape recorder that also displays video of moving lips, strapped to your face, as "empower[ing] those who are deprived of power."
posted by Trombone Borges at 4:15 AM on November 7, 2002

Har. Har.

interrupter of the continuity of established life in public space and dominant culture.

More bullshit. What a waste of damn time. I was really excited about this.

Don't you M.I.T. jerks have anything better to do with your time than fraudulently deforming "kitties" and having a good goof at everyone's expense by lying?
posted by hama7 at 5:01 AM on November 7, 2002

Actually, I'm a little confused by this -- Krzyszctof is in the Architecture dept, and a prof of Visual Arts. There don't appear to be any, say, robotics engineers, or computer scientists, having anything to do with this.

So what's behind the Mouthpiece (or Alien Stick)? Does it actually exist? Has a working one been built? Will a working one ever be built? Has anyone even thought about what would be involved in building it? Or is this just about throwing a technological idea out there, building a quick mockup, and making grandiose statements about it?

Is it an actual act of design to prototype a new machine that is maybe impossible to actually create? I could draw you a really great humanoid robot that can talk and do my laundry and attack people I don't like, but I wouldn't have actually designed anything.
posted by Trombone Borges at 5:20 AM on November 7, 2002

Artistic or not, they just creep me out, possibly because I keep thinking of Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream". I think I'd rig mine so that people could play Atari games on it.
posted by Monster_Zero at 8:19 AM on November 7, 2002

Trombone- The Staffs are from 92' and the Mouthpieces are from 94'. They do not do anything more than play prerecorded video. Both pieces are meant to entrigue and entice people to "get to know" the immigrant, who would otherwise be passed by and ignored if they were not holding/wearing one of the pieces.
I saw the exhibit in 97', and I was not impressed. The quality of fabrication was really poor, and the bulky bag with vcr/battery and the cords detracted from both pieces.
Another project Wodiczko is known for is the homeless vehicle project.
posted by sailormouth at 9:45 AM on November 7, 2002

i dunno. is it any better than turning immigrants into wage slaves or migrant workers?
posted by tangent at 11:49 AM on November 7, 2002

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