Installation exhibited at Rogues Galleries || March 2013
Photographs © Andy Matthews

In response to a brief with the theme of historic professions, Heard Words creates a modern day scriveners' (scribes') office.

Sited in a disused shop, as visitors enter microphones are listening. When visitors speak, their words are transcribed by a series of machines dotted around the room. Every time someone speaks, the devices immediately reel out the words, printed onto streams of paper.

The space is fun to explore, with hundreds of previously (mis)transcribed snippets of spoken words to be read from the streams of paper. Over the course of the festival the room will become more and more full with the transcripts of the spoken words. Through doing so Heard Words creates a spatial and sculptural record of data collected from people who have been within the space.

Often very funny, the paper records seem to read as bizarre conversations or monologues, streams of consciousness that move fast between concepts and juxtaposed statements. One of these streams is digital and anyone can read the twitter feed of the transcribed Heard Words, from the installation in Chester, anywhere in the world. 

Visitors to the space often start conversations with the installation. They perceive the installations mis-perceptions as responses to their utterances. This informs their next words and they often ask the installation questions. Driven by the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the transcriptions, this interaction facilitates anthropomorphic perceptions by the visitors. Observers see meaning in the streams and responses, which is often very funny and surreal!

Heard Words also tweets what it transcribes. Below is a live feed from twitter of the (mis)heard utterances of people visiting the exhibition.

Photography || Andy Matthews
Exhibition information || Chester Performs