Body as System

Each device in whisper is held close to, or worn on the body. Our bodies have secrets, contain multiple intelligences, conceal information in unlikely places, and develop strategies for the expression of current and archived states. So do the devices of whisper.

Focus of the Research

Thecla Schiphorst & Susan Kozel focus their research during this residency in Rotterdam on:

  • Creating devices and refining movement vocubularies;
  • In four particular areas; electromagnetic fields, temperature, breath and pulse;
  • Software/hardware architecture;
  • Movement work in the studio with dancers

Emanating Relationship

whisper device states are learned and emerge from living on a specific body, and begin to represent that body. The whisper devices also remember past bodies and states, and these past lives influence their behavior.
whisper plays in an ironic way with domains of influence, visibility, and the shifting threshold between the tangible and intangible. The continuum that spans the range between intangible and tangible is a threshold of perception. whisper shifts our attention to this mobile threshold.

Body as System

Each device in whisper is held close to, or worn on the body. Our bodies have secrets, contain multiple intelligences, conceal information in unlikely places, and develop strategies for the expression of current and archived states. So do the devices of whisper. Our bodies surrender things to one another. Our bodies learn, habituate and unlearn by applying directed attention. So does whisper. Any one of our bodies is a 'we'. When our bodies are together they can operate as an 'I'. So can the devices in whisper.
The interaction is 'whispered' between the devices themselves, creating a shared learning pattern, knowledge-base and memory.

Future Memory

In whisper, the concept of future memory is represented through the dynamic visualization of its own system state. whisper maintains and displays a dynamic representation of its memories.

In particular the system view represents and builds 'future memory'. The past is incomplete and the whispers can revisit and reconstruct past views as it progresses. The past is not replaced, it is augmented and restructured as the system perception grows. And the rediscovery of the past propagates into the future and the system's anticipated behaviors.

Whisper 4

Physiologically Based Input - Wearing the Body

The devices track and trace each other while worn and carried between bodies, receiving input from physical body signals, processing data through a collection of networked devices, and outputting a range of mapped responses back onto other bodies participating in the installation. Devices whisper to each other, tracking undertones, secrets and their own intelligences onto the bodies that carry and wear them. Communication is not always overt, often covert.

The network transmits and communicates when devices are in close proximity to one another, sharing data signals between physical bodies that wear them.

Both the input and output components are worn close to the skin, on clothing, around the neck, wrist, or ankles, like jewelry, attached to a piercing, next to the heart, or on one's sleeve. The components can output vibrations, temperature changes, sound, light and color, or miniature textual or image, even low-bandwidth video displays.

Cultural Study of Telepathy and Mapping

whisper is a foray into the cultural study of telepathy and of mapping techniques: impressions are transferred invisibly, mediated both through body and technology. 
This research will map data signals from collected and networked bodies, using sensors that collect physiological data. This reflects the awareness that our bodies are subtly evolving maps of our identities and our lives. whisper excavates the invisible, is a search for lost things.

This project has been carried out with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.


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