Audio, speakers, MP3 players, USB cables, wood
44 x 78 x 10 in (116 x 198 x 25 cm )
In conversation is a body of twelve sound installations that invite the viewer inside an ongoing conversation between the artist and an artificial intelligence algorithm; a conversation that reveals the inconsistencies of language through translation, be it through an analogue dictionary or an online algorithm.
In each installation, the artist took one adjective related to the notion of absoluteness and translated it backward and forward, from English into the nine other most used languages on the web. The translation from English were made using Google translate while the translations back to English were obtained using a physical dictionary. Inside this narrow intimate dark space formed by the two black partitions were the speakers are mounted on, the viewer can pause and listen to the string of words that are continuously bouncing back and forwards. On the right speaker, the artist voice says the words in English and on the left speaker, a synthesized text-to-speech software returns the word in one of the nine other languages used, creating an intimate conversation between man and artificial intelligence.
As the translations progress, the word slowly disconnects from the original adjective, traveling independently through vernacular differences and cultural relativities. Its meaning is altered by the weight of languages, its nuances are weaken at each iteration of the process. The translation algorithm is exposed to the same everlasting ambiguity of language and human exchanges encounter by the artist in her analogue translations.
When entering the installation, the viewer becomes a direct witness of this is this intimate, yet absurd conversation that comes to question the significance of meanings and interpretations in human exchanges – whether it is physical or virtual. Deflecting from the artist's voice to the synthesized voice of the algorithm, Kosmatopoulos re-actualizes the myth of the tower of Babel in the post-Internet age and takes the listener on a verbal journey of the relativity of translations, often losing the meaning in the process.
2016 "MHOAUNTDH [mu-hoh-uhn-tuh-dah] " solo show curated by Amanda Uribe and Che Morales, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, USA