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Ken Feingold, Box of Men, 2007, számítógépes installáció


Computer installation, 2007

This work is a computer program which animates and generates speech in real time for six virtual ventriloquist puppets. It is intended to be viewed on a very large monitor or projected on the wall in a dark room. The dialog is not pre-recorded, and is different each time someone visits it. The conversations that these figures carry on are neither completely scripted, nor are they random; rather, the soft­ware gives each a "personality", a vocabulary, associative habits, obsessions, and other quirks of personality which allow them to be­have as if in a scene of film, acting out their role over and over, but always changing. In "Box of Men", I explore the notion of guilt and innocence; the characters' ongoing conversations circle around what "he, she, they, you" have done, or said, or thought, how they reacted, how these figures judge them. In a sense, the puppets as­sume the role of a jury, talking about others as if from an objective point of view, but clearly, each in his own way, reveal assumptions, prejudices, limitations, and personalities of their own. The prog­ramming for the group conversation will create interaction that is shifting, fluid, and unpredictable, yet the fundamental nature of the conversations will explore a well defined variety of moods and men­tal states, and over time invoke not only voices for the figures, but characters as well. The image above simulates what the screen will look like, and in the actual work, the puppets mouths will open and close synchronously as they speak.

Text: Ken Feingold