What is the sound of thousands of people chatting on the Internet?

September 1, 2006 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

First, I’d like to mention that this post is totally biased because I LOVED this project.

The Listening Post was an art exhibit I saw at the San Jose ZeroOne Art and Technology Festival.

Text is taken from online chat rooms, bulletin boards, and public forums, then selected lines centered around a theme are read aloud while the text is simultaneously displayed on a wall of digital tiles in real time.

The Listening Post Exhibit

Having a text-to-speech engine read the text makes it feel very impersonal, and the background music is quite serene. The whole piece made me feel quite cold and lonely.

It’s really more of something to see than describe, so here are some videos: [Video 1], [Video 2].


The only thing that would make this better is to alternate several different voices in the TTS engine, or at least have a female voice as well.

Hansen, M. & Rubin, B. (2002). Listening Post: Giving voice to online communication. Proceedings from ICAD ‘02: International Conference on Auditory Display (Accepted but not published). [PDF]

Entry filed under: Art, Chat, Communication, Internet.

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