How to learn to talk 2U

A performance with the Talking Machine
Tomomi Adachi

Martin Riches teaching the Talking Machine to speak The concept for this work originated with the well-known photo (left) of Martin Riches pretending to teach his Talking Machine to speak. I first saw it when I was 20 years old and was totally taken in, believing this to be an interactive machine that could really be taught how to pronounce words. When I finally had the chance to work with the machine I decided to exploit this misunderstanding in some way. Detail of the photo on the left
The performance is dedicated to the 'fake' sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie and to Mayor Bloomberg's sign language interpreter Lydia Callis.

When one thinks about the Man-Machine concept one immediately thinks of Kraftwerk. Apparently their image of the cyborg-human was inspired by the Russian Cubo-Futurist movement. Vsevolod Meyerhold’s Biomechanics was a technique of expressing emotions on the stage by using external physical gestures rather than by subjective feeling. Gestures express the thoughts of the human being and convey them to the machine. I was also inspired by Zaum, the transrational-beyonsense language invented by the Cubo-Futurist poet Aleksei Kruchenykh as a way of communicating between human beings and machines and so transcend the border between the animate and inanimate.

Incomprehensible utterances by the machine express its innermost mind.

Tomomi Adachi, 2014

Tomomi and the Talking Machine in rehearsal

Tomomi Adachi and the Talking Machine in rehearsal, Asahi Hall, Tokyo.

back to speaking machines