Since the invention of the transistor radio, people have used mobile technologies to create privacy within the public spaces of urban environments. Devices such as iPods and mobile phones enable us to control social interactions in shared spaces -- ear buds signal to others that we are listening to music, even when nothing is playing, and moments of social awkwardness can be alleviated by text messages, games and social networks. While it is easy to blame our devices for disconnecting us from the sights and sounds of everyday life, the connections and interactions made possible through pervasive computing enable us to transform our experience of urban life.
Jessica Thompson is an internationally recognized media artist whose practice activates urban environments through interactive artworks situated at the intersection of sound, performance and mobile technologies. Swinging Suitcase, currently on view as part of INTERACTION at THEMUSEUM engages audiences through the playful use of technology by generating and broadcasting the sound of a flock of small birds in response to movement. In her presentation, Thompson will discuss this project and how interactive artworks provide new modes of engagement in, with and through the places where we live, work and play.