The Oracle Station transcodes a device’s incidental sound into text. Furthermore the Station also defines a particular device which is sensitive to the incidental sound of other devices. The Station allows a visitors device to affect the Oracle, the printer acts as a scribe to record the output of the Oracle. This station speculates on the possible futures we might have with our devices. The station provokes questions on the meaning of the residue of our devices ultimately driven by the question: If there is a hidden voice within our devices, what is it saying and who is it speaking to?
The station attempts to alter our perception of smart phones by creating speculative interactive systems which harness their inner voices — interacting with the soul rather than the surface — making us a passive variable in a hidden conversation. There are myths surrounding the notion of our devices having inner voices, thoughts, and souls. If so, then the implications of hearing these inner voices can lead to potential opportunities for reconstructing our relationship to them. The smart phone is the primary tool for meandering through the ubiquitous network. Its mobility and functionality reveals itself as an ideal conduit for many applications: communication through text, image, and voice, advertising, geo-location, and other productive tasks. Performing these everyday functions leads to our own development of myths and rituals which result from our interactions at the surface of these devices.
The Oracle Station explores the possibility that our smart phones and the ubiquitous network will reach a point of internal cultural development rich with history, dialogue, and more importantly: beliefs, rituals, and myths. These beliefs, myths, and rituals have been put in place by smart phones to remove them from the banality of the device’s everyday lives with us. This repositions humans into as a vessel — to carry the device on their pilgrimage to the Oracle Stations.
Installation at the Wind Tunnel Gallery, Art Center College of Design (click on image to advance)
At one point the Affection Research Lab completely focused on developing Oracle Stations. This initiative was funded through Kickstarter. This station in particular was called the “Scribe Station” for the reason of utilizing text. The core of the station relied heavily on chance — the possibility of a visiting device interacting with the Oracle, and the Oracle outputting legible text. Other considerations involved the possibility of using a single message and having that message altered based on the visiting device.
Scribe Station Diagrams (click on image to advance)