The Wall of Us

SPANG&LEI, Vitor Freire

The Wall of Us
The Wall of Us

The Wall of Us has an express purpose: to project spoken words onto a corporal body in real time. This installation capitalises on the sensitivity of speech-to-text digital recognition software through the process of transliteration.

When our thoughts transpose themselves from spoken words into a mediated form (digital text) which then can be disseminated beyond our body’s locality, words are no longer static. The Wall of Us highlights this paradigm shift in technology and aesthetics from the textual to the performative.

Remembering and/or forgetting surround the praxis of embodied memory; and memory is attuned with temporality. The physicality and corporeal movements required by the participant in front of the mirror to ‘catch’ these projected words gives the conceptualization of remembering another dimension; that remembering words need not only be a mental activity but a physical activity as well. In other words, to have a conversation, to engage in a dialogue not only requires aural attention but is an action. This performative memory becomes an embodied memory.

Can we embrace and struggle with the accuracy or imperfections of current speech-to-text recognition technology and question what is lost and gained through this fundamentally human exchange in linguistics? The Wall of Us coaxes the individual to contemplate beyond the many mis-translations and mis-readings that might accompany current digital technology during an aesthetic encounter. Hence, a mis-take (in this case) could be viewed as an opportunity, a genuine entry-point for sincere human-to-human interaction amidst a digital environment.

SPANG&LEI is Serena Pang and Wen Lei.

Serena Pang is currently a performance studies researcher. A theatre actor by training and profession, Serena is making her forays into performance research. She was recent awarded the “2014 Performance Studies Emerging Scholar Award” by NYU’s Department of Performance Studies. Serena endeavors to be a perceptive performer-archivist and hopes to use performance as a sustainable archival methodology.

Wen Lei is an artist and a recent graduate of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Program (ITP). Wen Lei hopes to initiate a dialogue between the state of Singapore’s digital-art technology and Singapore’s level of participatory politics. SPANG&LEI explores interdisciplinary collaboration as a precarious yet sustainable methodology; with “analogue”/traditional modes of performance making such as corporeal embodiment, puppetry and performance-art coexisting and thriving in tandem with technology and experiential design.

Vitor Freire is a Brazilian storyteller based in New York. His works blends interactive and social experiences, creating story universes and platforms to connect people through ideas and emotions. He is a graduate student (2014) from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU.


Interface Developer Fangyu Yang

Special Thanks Paper Monkey Theatre