>>In Conversation in Brighton



In November 1997, on Duke Street in Brighton, passers-by encountered an animated mouth projected onto the pavement. Through loudspeakers they could also hear a voice trying to strike up a conversation (the voice was made up of text to speech conversions of messages sent by Internet users to the installation). When pedestrians in Brighton responded to the voice and/or the projection, a concealed microphone and surveillance camera witnessed and transmitted their actions via streaming media onto the Internet allowing the net participants to observe the street in real-time and send further messages - in effect to strike up a conversation. The surveillance image was simultaneously conveyed to a large screen inside the Fabrica Gallery in Brighton framing the action taking place on the street outside cinematically, as a drama unfolding in real-time.

Participants engaged in diverse ways with the project, ranging from the pedestrians who simply walked past to certain individuals returning repeatedly to the street location and making dates with their new 'virtual' friends.

On occasion, for instance if it was raining and there were no pedestrians, the online users would take over the piece, communicating directly to each other, turning the street into a chat channel itself. Sometimes they would encourage the people on the street to perform - sing a song or dance - on occasion using the text dialogue to create percussive, rhythmic 'music'. The street participants would only hear a single androgynous computer voice which could have been sent from many different users and identities.

For movie documentation please click here
For chatlogs of the messages sent by internet users please click here
For writing about In Conversation please click here

In Conversation was originally commissioned by BN1 and Lighthouse in association with Fabrica in Brighton as part of Inhabiting Metropolis a series of Channel Commissions.
A 32 page full colour publication was published to coincide with the launch of In Conversation in Brighton. Funded by the Arts Council of England and edited by Bernhard Living (BN1), the publication outlines a number of site specific works from 1993-1997 by Susan Collins and includes a text by Helen Sloan. You can download a low-res (1.2 MB) PDF version of the catalogue by clicking here.


still fro surveillance video

Above: still from surveillance video click on image to enlarge

Above: stills from website click on image to enlarge



© susan collins 1997-2001