Martha Carrer Cruz Gabriel: Voice Mosaic

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    Voice Mosaic



    Internet art


Artist Statement:

    The human dream of talking with computers in natural language is not new. Scientific fiction books and movies present several ex­amples of it. In the early 21st century, voice recognition and speech synthesis technologies achieved enough accuracy and reliability for large-scale use, bringing to the surface the possibility of finally realiz­ing our dreams of talking with computers, and more: not only talking with one computer at a time, but to several computers in a network.

    In this context, and aspiring to create an experiment where people could talk to the web via telephone, the Voice Mosaic project was created.

    The work, launched in July 2004, is a web art project that merges speech and image into a visual/aural mosaic on the web. The tiles in the mosaic are created by the chosen colors and recorded voices of people who interact with the work by phone, from any location in the world, through speech synthesis and voice recognition (natural language processing). The mosaic is seen and heard on the web, where several modes of interaction are available. Interactions can happen in three distinct human languages in order to encourage global participation.

    Several dualities, which do not oppose each other, but instead mix and complete each other, are combined in the work: aural/visual, simple/complex, art/science, old/new, low-tech/high-tech, time/ space, human/computer, individual/community, passive/active, causality/chance, and others. Their dialogue and mixture intend to raise questions that can increase our awareness of boundary disso­lutions, hybridizations, convergences, and transdisciplinary activities that influence the world more and more.

Technical Information:

    The Voice Mosaic project would be impossible without a digital environment. The web is the most appropriate environment since it is multi-user by nature and broadly available. Database and phone/web hybridization/convergence are key features of the application. All data from the phone calls are stored in a database and used to form the mosaic on the web, and the convergence of telephone and the web allows all interactions to be seen in real time in the mosaic.

    At the human interaction level, one technology is the core of the work: VoiceXML, which enables voice interactions between humans and computers. Without a voice gateway rendering VoiceXML com­mands, it would be impossible for users to “talk” to the application.

    Completing the interaction scenario, Flash technology integrated with the database realizes several data-visualization methods (includ­ing mapping) allowed by digital media environments.