Sound Interventions

Andrew Todd Marcus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture
Richard Streitmatter-Tran of the Massachusetts College of Art, Studio for Interrelated Media.

Both Andrew and Richard were enrolled in the class, Interrogative Design Workshop at MIT shorlty after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. We were tasked to come up with a device that would respond to the unreliable information coming from the media. We designed a device that would hack the ubiquitous newspaper vending machine found throughout the city. When the door was opened, it would break a magnetic switch that would a) broadcast a message that would contest/question that day's front page news with a message that we pre-recorded or b) through a built-in audio recording device, would allow the last user to record up to 30 seconds of their own message that would then be broadcast to the next customer. Normally, this would have been a straightforward exercise, but given the climate immediately after the attacks, hacking public machines was extremely dangerous, particularly with homemade wired electronic devices installed that might resemble bombs. So we were very carely to monitor the hacked newspaper vending machine at all times and we prepared to intervene and explain our experiment should there be any misunderding of what the device actually was.

The work was co-conceived, developed, prototyped and refined by Marcus and Streitmatter-Tran over the course of the semester as a demonstration for the potential of tactical art interventions.



Sound Interventions (2001)
Interrogative Design Workshop (IDW)
Massachusetts Institute Technology
Cambridge, MA
Multimedia Installation. Newspaper box, sensors, recording and sound devices.

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