Compression /// Perception

A collaboration with Miguel Novelo.

Compression figures into all aspects of our modern lives from nutrient-dense meals compressed into energy bars and vitamins to live music and landscapes compressed into the ones and zeros of digital files. Similarly, our perceptions of others are based on the limited information we take in through our senses. Time limits how much information we gather  regarding a person, as do the physical limits of our senses. Finally, subjective limits of our own background and experiences filter what information we deem relevant. We constantly compress whole, unique individuals into our circumscribed perceptions from which we identify, assess, judge, categorize, eliminate, advance, like, dislike, etc.

Compression /// Perception aims to promote understanding and acceptance of others by focusing on their distinct voices while de-emphasizing characteristics that we typically seize on to superficially sum up and classify others. Audio players play through speakers contained in thirteen identical organic/anthropomorphic forms with the dimensions of the average human. The content played is culled from interviews with people and contains their undirected thoughts and experiences. The walls of the forms interfere with the sound. The sound is understandable only when someone leans their ear close enough to focus and listen. The piece seeks to remind the viewer to get past the superficial, to understand that others are unique individuals with often unimaginable stories, and to spend the effort in really listening to others. A microphone in the center of the arrangement invites viewers to participate, including their voices in the conversation, adding them to what is being played through the speakers.