EROFT: Meditation 4
What does it mean to communicate in a collective sense? I think of our networked selves, the twitter feed as the new greek chorus, collective twitter groups that speak but are seen as singular (ex: “black twitter”).
I scraped several of my classmate’s public twitter feeds, combined them into one document and then used Allison’s markov program that I used in my RWET final to generate a few lines of text.
But…I wanted to do something with this text. I started thinking about interesting collective, electronically-mediated experiences that I’ve had and remembered this Low Anthem concert I went to some years ago that had an incredible bit that involved cell phones. I wondered if I could combine some of the scraped text with this cell phone trick.
I downloaded the gTTS module to have the computer speak the lines (it saves the file to an mp3). Then I got six people to help me try the experiment out, while the mp3 file played off of computer speakers. The overall ambient noise effect was cool, but I think it would be more effective with more participants and maybe more ambient noise. I also wonder if it would be more effective if I spoke the lines rather than the computer.
But…Something about the twitter scraping bothered me – that these were constructs rather than something of the unconscious (though we know many tweets that have been sent off without a thought.) What is a subconscious tweet? How do we elicit one?
What if everyone said (into their phone) the first word or string of words that comes to mind when I show an image or headline? Then it’s just this cacophony of noise but also like, a literal echo chamber.
So proposal for a performance, ECHO CHAMBER:
Everyone takes their cell phones out.
Begin by having people pair off and one person (the “caller”) gets the phone number from the other person (the “callee”). The caller then calls the callee and both put their phones on speaker mode and set them next to each other. Adjust volumes as necessary and play with physical the space between the phones.
Facilitator begins slideshow and people say the first word, phrase, or sentence that comes to mind into their phone.
Repeat until we get sick of the noise in our bubble.
(I wonder what this would be like with all the computers saying the scraped tweets out-loud.)
(Also, I definitely get this 1960s contemporary artist voice when I write out performance instructions.)