Skip to content

NY Times review of GFS show

August 29, 2011

Well there is a less than stellar review of the show I am in at Grounds for Sculpture in last Friday’s New York Times.

Another promising work is Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s “Totem” (2010), a gypsum tower that records visitors’ conversations and spits them out in fragmented form over the course of the exhibition. Unfortunately, the fragments of speech returned by the sculpture feel so random — and are so hard to hear — that the piece fails to connect human speech, meaning and technology in a profound fashion.

Nonetheless I appreciate the mention and link to my website! I am afraid I can’t entirely disagree with their criticism. The location where Totem is installed is very echoey and it makes the speech very difficult to hear. A bit disappointing but a good reminder to be picky about where and how your work is installed and to try to visit before it is shipped. There are really so few spaces that are good for sound art… yet another reason to wish for/work towards a sound specific gallery here in New York!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mi Haotian permalink
    November 17, 2011 12:31 am


    Very interesting piece of work,hearing the Totem whisper make me feel a bit surreal. Quite amazed. And may I suggested a way to tackle the issue mentioned above? I’m not familiar with the speech recognition or audio processing, but have you try apply some noise cancellation technique before saving the sounds? Also another thing I find distracting is that the generated speech consist both men and women voices in one sentence, and the volume can also vary dramatically. So if you could manage the classify the human speech according to gender and other factors, like age for instance, and using only similar word recording within each sentence, also adjust the volume for all the words to be consistent, then I guess it will make the “Totem” much easier to understand. Again since I don’t have much background knowledge in this field, those method might not be even possible, so…anyway, HTH.

    Mi haotian

    • November 17, 2011 1:23 pm

      Thanks for the thoughtful suggestions Mi. Did you experience the piece at Grounds For Sculpture?

      • Mi Haotian permalink
        November 20, 2011 8:20 pm

        Hi, you are welcome and sorry for the late reply. I’m not living in US, so I don’t have the chance to so that. I came across the link for your project when I was searching for CMU sphinx library. And thanks to the internet, I can watch your work from my computer screen, on the other side of the globe.
        Mi Haotian

  2. October 2, 2013 9:38 am

    Great website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that
    cover the same topics talked about in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of community where I
    can get opinions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Appreciate it!

    • October 2, 2013 1:27 pm

      Genspace would be a good place to start in the NYC area!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: