Tim Redfern and I installed “Inquisitive Devices” at the Conflux Festival in NYC this weekend. “Inquisitive Devices” is a networked sound installation that examines the transition from public to personal broadcasting, and the present day usage of the radio spectrum through the proliferation of ‘Bluetooth’ enabled personal communication devices carried by pedestrians in urban centers. “Inquisitive Devices” actively searches several points of neighborhood intersection for Bluetooth signals and creates audible sounds based on the advertised names of detected Bluetooth devices, using speech synthesis and real-time audio filtering techniques. These sounds are replayed in spatial patterns over a networked speaker array spread out throughout the physical location, based on the movements of visitors inferred from the detection of their device’s names. The project attempts to begin a conversation between people and the devices they carry with them daily that simultaneously transmit signals in public space.


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