Lingoplasty, 2005

Interactive sound installation
custom speakers, custom programming, motion tracking webcam, computer modelled templates hand-cut & built from laminated cardboard, steel
dimensions variable
each pod measures 200 x 200 x 180 cm
ANCA Gallery, Canberra
17 – 28 August 2005
Lingoplasty is an interactive soundscape composed of two large speaking objects. These objects utter nonsensical language as the viewer moves between them, the space is mapped to their exploration of the environment. This nonsense, or no sense, is taken from children’s nursery rhymes and TV shows. Something we are all exposed to, something that lives in the undercurrent of our conscious mind: the symbology of nonsense teaching us the boundaries of meaning. Nostalgia for the child mind.
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)
For some, the human impulse to find meaning in what is actually random or nonsensical is what makes people find luck in coincidence, or believe in omens and divination. This is the pattern recognition of an open mind, sifting signal from noise. A willingness to dream. Teaching a machine to see, the imagination to hear and space to speak. Between the world of language and objects the body rests.
The objects in Lingoplasty are machines designed to assemble language according to simple templates of sentence structure, such as: subject, verb, object. By sampling words from sources of popular culture, categorising these words and then randomly placing these words in templates of language, these machines create a soundscape akin to Dada or fridge magnet poetry. The superstructure or generative structure underlying the computer’s organisation of the word samples hopefully moves the exercise into a space beyond 1000 typing monkeys trying to write Shakespeare. The objects themselves, constructed from laminations of cardboard boxes, are a translation of computer modeling into modeling by the hand. By creating a series of computer generated templates of the forms, which were cut by hand out of cardboard bricks, 80 layers become the final form.
Translation is therefore integral to the process of the work, both in its manufacture and in its ongoing machine performances of nonsense poetry. A collusion between mind and machine.