bzzzpeek.com on display at MoMA's Talk to Me exhibition, NYC
Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects organised by senior curator Paola Antonelli and curatorial assistant Kate Carmody.
MoMA's official project description: Agathe Jacquillat (French, born 1975) and Tomi Vollauschek (Austrian, born 1973) of FL@33 (UK, est. 2001) bzzzpeek. 2002. HTML and Flash software. Bzzzpeek is a playful online catalogue of onomatopoeia, composed of audio clips of native speakers vocalizing animal and vehicle sounds in their own languages. Visitors to the site choose an animal and then click on various flags to hear renditions of a cat, a lion, a rooster, and twenty-six other animals in twenty-two languages. Anyone can submit a recording, and most of the recordings are of children voices. The site is entertaining as well as informative, drawing attention to both the commonalities and idiosyncrasies of languages and language groups. A cat's meow sounds the most similar across languages; South Koreans, followed closely by Hungarians, most consistently deviate from the standard interpretations of sounds. For more info on this award-winning FL@33 project please click here.
More pictures of the show will
be posted as soon as they arrive from MoMA. The pictures shown here already were taken by Damian Kowal a kind New Yorker. He also posted on his own flickr stream not 1 but 2 lovely sketches he made of the bzzzpeek interface on display.
exhibition section/chapter intro:
In this world of constant and ubiquitous communication, ignorance is not considered to be bliss, and misunderstandings are dangerous missed opportunities—except when they are integrated in a script as moments of shock and revelation, as interesting double entendres. Still, mishaps they are, and in common parlance they are conversation, even communication stoppers.
The noble goals of harmony, empathy, and true tolerance are why so mang people have devoted their lives to helping us understand others, or at least whomever our local cultural conventions consider "others." History has prepared us for this moment with centuries of war, activism, and progress, however slow, in banishing taboos and embracing diversity. All the important twentieth-century movements of emancipation, equality, and liberation have proceeded in this direction. We also know that we still have a long way to go.
This is why designers, whose focus is alwags centered on improving conditions for human beings, have become engaged in projects that require not only the classical elements of design education but also basic tenets of cognitive science. In previous chapters we have explored how the Internet and wireless networks have created new layers of complexity and possibility in human communication. Designers are now taking on the communication issues these layers have presented, issues now central to our daily activities: negotiations of privacy and anonymity; the vehemence and violence abetted by the ability to hide behind false identities; the promise of new and unregulated means of expressions, connectivity, and revenue generation, and the responsibilities that go with them.
By focusing on those issues, often with actionable proposals and sometimes with visionary clarity, designers have joined with abandon the ranks of those encouraging cross-cultural understanding. This chapter contains design solutions for curious humans who want to experience what it feels like to be something or somebody else, whether a bat (page 176), a crow (page 177), a menstruating woman (page 182), a person uvith a disability (pages 190–92), and other kinds of transformers and outliers. The activist efforts of some designers, whose decisive metaphors and statements have the blunt force of manifestos, work toward these simple goals: if not acceptance, at least tolerance; curiosity rather than rejection; a better, more fulfilling, more organic, more just way of living together. P. A.