Chinese Whispers

A participatory project and sound installation (2012)

The project explores the gradual transformation (disintegration and reconstruction) of language through iterative repetition. The mental processes involved in understanding and repeating words are akin to a filter; some words, or even parts of words get stuck or removed by the process, and what comes out is inevitably altered and carries marks of the unique understanding process of each individual. Iā€™m interested in this journey of transformation; where words are being passed through different understandings: Parts are added, others get lost, new possible interpretations are created. For this project participants were invited to collaborate by interpreting a phrase. Participants listened to, and were recorded saying, the phrase in a Chinese Whispers booth. The initial phrase has been passed through the ears, minds, and mouths of various participants in different languages and in different places.

Chinese Whispers Booth at Whitstable Satellite 2012

'Chinese Whispers' at FAR, Festival of Art as Research, Germany 2012

Participants were also asked to write what they understood: