The Ear: Sound surveillance project
The Imaginary man version
The sound is untouchable, it is temporary and always is dying, that´s why is difficult to analyze it. But at the same time, we can observe the world from the sound, we can find there a protection area.
This project is about the creation of a listening surveillance device, an ear prosthesis that can collect voices, transcribe them to text, and then return the information to sound.
The piece is based on a parabolic dish, that has the quality of detect sound on a long distance. This shape has its references in the Acoustic Mirrors, created and used by the British Army after the first World War to detect airplanes, and also in a long list of listening devices project, both artistic and scientific created with the purpose to extend the biology capacities of the human body.
This device of this project is always rotating searching for sounds, looking for sound events or natural/mechanical, human or animal, and when the system detects some sound (in this proposal, specifically the human voice) the parabolic stop and starts to collect the sound. Then, the system transcribes to text the human voice collected and store on a data base, generating in many cases strange and incoherent text, After that, the system return the information to sound through text to speech. Also, the voice in real time is processed, generating a composition between the voice transformed and degraded, and the voice in real time.
In this sense the piece could be a ironic idea of the surveillance system, in some points it is not perfect, and those mistakes create probably wrong information, therefore a lot of electronic trash, and a process degradation of the information. The object try to show how the human voice could be transformed in an digital object and could be analyzed, recorded, transformed and stored. The object try to interpellate the privacy and freedom concept, the relevance of the information collected in surveillance systems, and the ethical and politic limits in this kind of devices.