A collaborative digital media arts project by Travis Feldman, Cody Moncur, Alan McGinnis, John Barber, Marc Rose. November 2014-May 2015, Portland, OR.
"TelephoNOUS: Twisted Epiphanies" is a new work, created in anticipation of the ELO 2015 Conference Arts Festival in Bergen, Norway.
TelephoNOUS is an interactive sound installation using a reproduction Crosley 1950's pay telephone, an Arduino micro-computer, a Lilypad MP3 player, and several sound files. Users/participants will dial a telephone number and hear, as a result, a short audio narrative in the telephone handset. Dialing different numbers will result in hearing different epiphanies.
The term "TelephoNOUS" bears some explanation. The abbreviated "telephone" refers to the telephone platform that forms the basis for this installation. The term NOUS plays on the French word for we, us, to us, and each other and thus indicative of collaboration and sharing as its central attributes. The French 'nous' rhymes with the English “new” as in a fresh concept, hopefully more in tune with the context it signifies. 'Noos' or 'Nous' is also the ancient Greek word for mind. It implies perception, sense, and purpose. It represents one’s heart, the essence of oneself. Inherent in the word is the notion of humanness. The connection then to narrative is direct, a sharing of thoughts, ideas, reactions to the surrounding context of the world.
"Twisted Epiphanies" is a collection of short spoken word pieces from 15 seconds to 2 minutes in length. Each features original sound design and audio enhancement and where appropriate, original music to underscore the message of the individual piece.
These short pieces range in topic as well. From thoughts on "The Politics of Trees" to the home invasion by television set as in "Message in a Bottle." Each narrative is crafted to reflect the energy and underlying spirit of the work, without overshadowing it.
The audio narratives are based on selected writings by Pacific Northwest, US, authors, known and unknown. This selection points to the eventual goal for this project: to include writers from all over the world thus enhancing the epiphanic possibilities.
The desired outcome of this installation is to encourage interaction with sound-based narratives provided through an unusual, perhaps even novel, interface. Questions that users/participants might ask include . . . Created and facilitated using computer technologies, yet requiring telephony technology for interaction, does this installation qualify as electronic literature? What kind of narrative(s) am I hearing? How might my interpretation of narrative change given the context of my listening? How does this context affect the nature of narrative as I understand it prior to my visit to this installation? How does this experience speak to the ends of electronic literature? Have we come full circle, back to social orality, or does this experience speak to new methodologies for the production and distribution of future forms of electronic literature?
The audio portion of this work was developed in 2014.
The interactive electronics portion of this work, the telephone interface through which participants/listeners will interact, was developed in 2014-2015 using a reproduction of a Crosley 1950's pay telephone, with microcontrollers (Arduino and LilyPad).
This work consists of a free standing Crosley reproduction 1950's pay telephone. Ideally, it will be shown on a pedestal or other stable, secure, horizontal surface at a comfortable height where interactors/participants can use the telephone dial to evoke the Twisted Epiphanies, heard through the telephone handset. Electrical power is necessary for the functionality of this installation so placement within reach of a power outlet is required. The telephone will have its own power cord. An extension cord to the nearest outlet is required. Any extension cord will need be taped or otherwise secure to user safety, etc.
If the optimal situation is not available, the installation can be placed on a table or shelf, so long as either are within easy reach of participants/interactors, and power is available.
The installation might also be placed on a table, where participants/interactors can sit in chairs and access the installation.
The installation is free-standing, a phone booth, mounted on a pole and requiring only sufficient space to securely display the telephone at a height and in a context that is comfortable to its use by users/participants. Electrical power is required for the installation and lights shining on it.
Users/participants will be encouraged to approach the installation, remove the telephone handset from its receiver, place same against an ear, dial any telephone number, and listen to a "Twisted Epiphany" provided in response using the telephone handset. This interaction can be repeated as many times as desired. Dialing different telephone numbers will evoke different responses.
Following installation and set up of this work, there should be little need for oversight or adjustments to this installation. Interaction with this installation is driven by users/participants. They will be encouraged to lift the telephone handset, place it to their ear, and then dial a telephone number. In response to this input, computers, controllers, and players inside the telephone will send a sound file, a Twisted Epiphany, to the handset where it can be heard by the user/participant. This process can be repeated. Electrical power is required for this installation. An extension cord, from a nearby wall or floor power outlet, can connect to the telephone, providing all necessary electrical power. The artists will supply the necessary power adaptor for the extension cord to connect with the installation power plug.