14 degrees of separation
Audio, speakers, MP3 players, USB cables
200 x 75 x 5 in (500 x 90 x 12 cm)
Fourteen degrees of separation is a multi-channel sound installation that re-actualizes the oral tradition of Greek and Roman Antiquity and connects this old practice with new behaviors emerged from the contemporary technologies revolution.
Seven small speakers placed on the wall at eye level broadcast the sound of a deep male voice narrating seven texts. Each text was obtained by translating 14 consecutive times the first verses of Homer’s Odyssey from a language randomly selected to another using a popular online translator; it was then turned into sound with a text-to-speech software.
As the translations progress, the leading lines of the Greek epic text evolve into surrealist poems, slowly disconnecting themselves from the links that bond them to the verses of Homer. The final result embodies seven strings of 14 consecutive translations that all begin simultaneously from the original text of the Odyssey and progressively grow and differentiate from one another as they independently travel online through vernacular differences and cultural relativities.
Fourteen degrees of separation takes a contemporary approach to that antique tradition of oral culture by appropriating and remixing existing cultural elements thru softwares and algorithms. In Antiquity, poets would mix bits and pieces of culturally significant stories together in real-time and chant to their audience a story altered by their own subjective perception of the pieces mixed. In this installation, new technologies replace the Greek epic poet, internally processing and transforming the story before passing it onto the audience.
When entering the installation, the audience is confronted with an unintelligible cacophony of words approaching from every corner of the room. To make sense of the chaos of information, a viewer must get close to a given speaker and listen, to this true-to-life text-to-speech computer voice as it transforms the text of The Odyssey one translation after another. Place in this intimate face-to-face with the product of an artificial intelligence, the viewer is reminded of the significance of authorship, meanings and interpretations in human exchanges – whether it be physical or virtual.
2017 "Imagined Homes" curated by Azad Azifovich et Jérôme Nivet-Carzon / Thessaloniki Biennale /
2016 “Traduire / c’est trahir. Volet 1” curated by Azad Asifovich and Sasha Pevak / galerie Nivet-
Carzon / Paris, France
2015 "DIGITAL MIGRATION" curated by Judith Fegerl, Künstlerhaus Wien, Vienna, Austria
2015 “Organizing Chaos” curated by Cristina Ghetti and Javier Marisco, Incubarte 7 International Art Festival, Valencia, Spain
2014 "OLE.01" co-curated by Lello Masucci and Roberta Iadevaia, Museum PAN - Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, Naples, Italy
2014 “THE LEGACY OF NAM JUNE PAIK IN THE POST-DIGITAL AGE” , Two-artist show , Shin Gallery, New York, USA