Father Why? 

Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria, 1989 & 

Richmond (California) Arts Center, 1990 

by Stephen Wilson 

Interactive computer technology is used to create a physical space that is a metaphor for the web of emotions surrounding imminent death of my father 

Physical locations become the homes of emotions such as sadness, anger, longing, and forgetfulness. Viewers can explore the emotional space by moving about the physical space. The computer senses human presence and generates digitized music and speech in response out of the speaker in that physical location. For example, the "Place of Anger" explores the anger associated with someone dying -- anger toward the self, the person, and the Cosmos. 

Viewers can "direct" the evolving discourse by their presence. Continuing presence in one location causes the computerized dialog to explore increasing depths and nuances of the emotions which that location is home to. Walking away and into another place causes the reflections on the first emotion to stop and reflections on a new emotion to start. Multiple viewers in different locations can create a textured sound space in which each location is generating sound related to the emotion it knows. 

Occasionally the computer will stop to invite a viewer in one of the locations to speak a word or short phrase related to that emotion into a microphone. It then digitizes and stores those words. For the remaining days of the installation, these phrases become part of the sound repertoire --a kind of chorus --that is associated with that particular emotional and physical place. 

(Installation assistance by Cathy Witzling. German voice by Doris Unterberger) 

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- This page created by Stephen Wilson, Professor Conceptual / Information Arts, SFSU (http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~swilson) swilson@sfsu.edu 
- More information about the Conceptual Information Arts program is available at (http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~infoarts)
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