The Giver of Names

This piece invites the user to reflect on the construction of language, memory and learning. A computer analyzes objects, identifying outstanding features such as colour, shape and form. These are paired with its database of associated words. The visual analysis of the objects is projected at the same time as the generated words appear - in clouds of colours that correspond to each object on the screen. Finally the computer speaks a grammatically correct but logically nonsensical sentence built from its knowledge base. The system expresses the machines' subjectivity in a flow of artificial consciousness.

Commissioned in part by the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; financial assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.