For the period June-July 2002 Thecla Schiphorst (CDN) & Susan Kozel (CDN/GB) were invited to further develop their project "whisper" at the V2_Lab and the Rotterdam City Theater. The research done during the residency will result in a participatory installation exhibited at DEAF03_Data Knitting.
whisper is a working title for a new media piece based on small wearable devices and handheld technologies. whisper[s] are wearable body architectures. whisper takes place in an installation space and on the web.
Participants enter an exhibition space, which can best be described as a networked ecosystem containing small intelligent devices, which emanate their state based on the wearer's movement and intention. At one end of the space is a projection screen upon which the collective interactions, the 'body' of the system state is projected and displayed. Up to 12 participants may move and browse in and out of the space with access to a set of devices which may be sewn into a jacket, hat, cape, or belt, be hanging from the grid above, or may be on the floor calling to be picked up. whisper devices are networked to a centralwhisper database server which constructs the system-state visualization transmitted both to the projection surface in the space, and to the web. The whisperdevices create their narratives based on the interaction body they presently inhabit, and their own past lives.
whisper utilizes wearable computers and wireless computer communication, builds upon physical practices such as dance improvisation, and manifests cultural and scientific theories of embodiment. The technology and the physical vocabularies are to be developed synchronously. whisper is a participatory installation which generates and represents data flows in intimate connection with the bodies that produce and alter them. whisper unearths physical data patterns of the body, mapping that data onto linked and networked devices worn close to the surface of the skin. It appropriates the attention, the breath, the heartbeat of a community of performers and audience members, rewriting them as shared signals on the network. whisper borrows from biofeedback techniques to shift our attention back to the intimacy of the autonomic self. This piece uses wearable devices like displays, miniature speakers, matchbox webservers, and small vibrating motors and mechanisms. The materials to be incorporated into the device-design include highly tactile silks, latex, twine, rubber, knits and paper. These devices will resemble a cross between theatrical costumes and body sculpture.
This project has been carried out with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.