Byeong Sam Jeon: Miscommunication

  • ©2004, Byeong Sam Jeon





Creation Year:



    Loop device, 2 data gloves, and 2 microphones


    150 centimeters x 150 centimeters x 70 centimeters


Artist Statement:

    As a multimedia artist, I work primarily in interactive audio/visual installation and performance. Through my research and creative practice, I develop new social communication systems. My artwork explores the lives of people who are marginalized by society due to social and physical challenges, which have debilitated them in some
    way. Since I arrived in the United States in 2003 from Korea for further research, I have been able to personally address this alienation in terms of interpersonal communication. Miscommunication deals with the language barriers commonly experienced by non-native speakers. To communicate with each other, most of us use sound as well as physical gestures. Even though sounds have specific meanings in their particular contexts and uses, we often experience communication barriers. This raises some
    important questions: How can we fully understand each other, and what is the alternative of language? By exploring the connection between movement and sound, meaning, and perception, this piece confronts viewers with an unintended communication barrier. Through this work, I am also attempting to explore possible methods of sound communication. Participants use data gloves to control the output of a sound device. As they speak into the device while altering the sound with the gloves, they can hear their multiple-layered voices being irregularly manipulated. Echoes are controlled by the sensors in the gloves. When they hear their duplicated voices though this device, they may feel the confusion of many simultaneous sounds in the space. The distracting effect is similar to trying to calculate a math problem in your head while friends shout random numbers. Miscommunication allows participants to indirectly experience the complexities of the communication barrier through chaotic sound and language.

Technical Information:

    This installation consists of five main components: the sound recordand-play component (which uses a newly designed loop cassette tape), the sound alteration component (five standard servos and a servo controller), two data gloves that have 10 flexi sensors, two sound input devices, and two speakers. As participants speak into the microphones and make various hand gestures while wearing the data gloves, the sound-generation device makes altered multiple-layered voices similar to a modulated electronic echo. With the flexi sensors in the data gloves, each finger can manipulate specific variables of sound. Each sensor in the data gloves sends signals to the main servo controller, which gives five servos specific movements to modulate five properties of sound: sound speed, speaker volume, physical echo, microphone volume, and balance. Through the speakers, participants hear their irregularly altered multiple-layered voices.