Featured in the Gallery

Talking Cure


image courtesy of the artist(s)

Artists: Noah Wardrip-Fruin - installation concept and writing
Camille Utterback - video processing concept and software
Clilly Castiglia - sound processing concept and design
Nathan Wardrip-Fruin - speech to text design and programming

Medium: gallery installation

Description: Talking Cure is a piece about word pictures, about spoken word and written language; about talking, hearing, and the gaze; about torment and hallucination; about cure. It works the story of Anna O, the patient of Joseph Breuer's who gave to him and Freud the concept of the "talking cure" as well as the word pictures to substantiate it. Anna's snake visions are interwoven with imagery of the Gorgon Medusa. There is a microphone into which the viewer may speak. The viewer sees her reflected image made up of our words, Anna's words, Breuer/Freud's words, and perhaps her own. She hears a collage sound environment that includes all of these. Reading is accomplished by bodily movement. Adding text is accomplished by speaking.

Installation and materials: The reader enters a space with a projection surface at one end and a high-backed chair, facing it, at another. In front of the chair are a video camera and microphone. The video camera's image of the person in the chair is displayed, as text, on the screen. This display is formed by reducing the image to three colors, and then using these colors to determine the mixture between three layers of text. Speaking into the microphone will create text that replaces one of these layers. What is said into the microphone will also be recorded, and become part of a sound environment that also includes recordings of Bruer's words, Anna's words, and our words. Others in the space observe the person in the chair through word pictures on the screen.

This installation's components include:

  • Video camera
  • Video projector
  • Projection surface (screen or wall)
  • Noise-cancelling microphone
  • Speakers
  • Three networked computers (one for video, one for audio, and one for speech to text)
  • Custom and commercial software
  • Furniture
  • Controlled lighting

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