smSage is a device to plant a murmur in the city. Mimicking a piece of faceless urban infrastructure, it murmurs to itself and to passersby, and seems to come from nowhere, a blank spot on an ordinary wall… Or which ubiquitous urban object is producing the sound? Which alarm-box, conduit, or… security camera?
smSage receives SMS text messages, which are converted to audible speech, using a text-to-speech engine with a synthesized voice. It speaks these messages coherently at first, but which each repetition, starts to mix them with previous messages it has received, producing a concrete poem. The voice becomes quieter … A new message wakes it up again, for brief lucidity, before sense begins to dissolve again.
smSage can sense the ambient sound level and adapt its volume accordingly. When the project isn’t receiving any messages, it advertises its presence by quietly reciting its phone number.
The device is contained in a security camera housing, which contains a parabolic speaker to throw the sound at a nearby surface. The sound appears to come from a point on a wall where the speaker is directed.
The security camera acts as disguise for the source of the voice, making it more spectral and mysterious. It takes the function of a security camera and turns it around rather than capturing information from the environment, it projects onto it, voicing and remixing participants comments and observations in a transient, ephemeral way.
To find out more about smSage click here to visit the website.
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