Dec 1, 2016 | By Julia

Multimedia artist Saurabh Datta has created an insightful installation revolving around a 3D printed ear. In “Ears after all,” a mounted hearing post “listens” to words spoken into it, then searches Wikipedia and online dictionaries for the meaning of those words, and how they may be relevant to its own existence.

As the rigged 3D printed ear tries to make sense of its input and itself, the observer watches the task unfold as a projection from its backend – what Datta has dubbed the “backend terminal soul.” How the machine records, listens, finds, and understands is all laid out in front of the observer’s eyes, via the projector terminal.

Here a speaking post represents the audience, which recites poems containing words like “hearing” and “sound.” These are terms that the ear deems relevant to itself, which will then be searched online.

A trained civil engineer and a graduate of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Datta combines science, technology, design, and philosophy in his art. “At the end, I'm a lifelong tinkerer and learn subjects during my process. My media is essentially the physical world, the being and the agency and not so much just the screen bits,” he explains on his website.

“Ears after all” follows a similar trajectory. Imagined as a project of curiosity in listening tech, Datta tells us that “understanding how things work and displaying it in its true form” is one goal of the installation.

“We are surrounded by technologies that the majority of us do not understand,” Datta explains. “They have become a ubiquitous part of our lives intentionally or unintentionally. Both by technocratic as well as marketing/consumerist decisions. We intend to use these technologies without understanding a basic brief[ing] of how they govern and impact our lives and opinions.”

Likewise, “Ears after all” attempts to understand “how behaviors and underlying architecture can be deciphered with applying behavioral ascriptions a.k.a. metaphorical representations to working machines.” In this way, Datta tells us, the installation also seeks the meaning of being a machine. “To really understand we have to detach ourselves from being a being of our definitions,” which means thinking “both aesthetically and action-wise” as a machine-subject.

Taking a total of three weeks to construct – from conception to final installation – the speaking post is comprised of an Arduino nano, mp3 module, servo and speaker. The ear itself consists of a 3D printed ear shell, a hacked TP link router running openWRT, a usb sound card, microphone, ext root from a micro-sd card, rangefinder, Arduino nano and power module.



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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