Sonic Cartography and Machine Therapy

Syren is a shipboard version of augmented audio reality developed by the New South Wales University, Australia.

The system was adapted by artist Nigel Helyer to operate a sonic cartography in and around each of the ports that the ISEA2004 ferry visits with some additional points en-route.
This GPS installation tracks the route of the ship and plays sound samples based on the current location to a 16 speaker sound system on the upper decks.

Via Coin-operated.

Nosing about in the ISEA 2004 website, I stumbled on the Machine Therapy project by Kelly Dobson of MIT Media Lab (USA).

One of the machines, Blendie, is an interactive, and voice controlled 1950’s Osterizer blender which has been altered with custom made hardware and software for sound analysis and motor control.


If people manage to make their voice sufficiently blender-like, Blendie will begin to pitch-track and power-match their voice with its own motor body. Low pitch blender-like sounds will induce Blendie to spin slowly, while higher pitches speed it up.

The participant has to speak the language of the machine, and thus to more deeply understand and connect with it. This may also bring about personal revelations in the participant, because in sounding with the blender one is likely to perform gesture and sound expressions not previously accessed which may open up unfound emotions or thoughts or feelings.