[ISEA2020] Paper: Paul Dunham, Mo H. Zareei, Dale Carnegie & Dugal McKinnon — TwttrGraph: I Wish to Speak with You. A Telegraphic Sound Installation


Keywords: Sound art, media archaeology, social media, Morse, telegraph, Twitter, obsolescence

The representations that real-time, always-on, data-driven technologies will enhance society like never before promotes an historical inattention that ignores the entangled genealogy of contemporary social media. As we live our lives increasingly in the public realm of social media, we are not only exposed to a human gaze. What happens when we slow down the present through the past? Using a media archaeological research approach, this paper presents Twitter and the telegraph as related forms of social media. Developed by the first author, TwttrGraph, an object-based sound installation utilising obsolete media technology, is presented as an audio-visual representation of a genealogy of connections between past media technologies and contemporary social media. TwttrGraph can be considered a return to the material representation of media through the physical re-presentation of Twitter messages transported as invisible digital media through the physical materiality of the telegraph key. By enabling the ability to hear the present through the past, TwttrGraph reconfigures the existence of the telegraph within a broader history of social media.

  • Mo H. Zareei is an Iranian sound artist and researcher based in New Zealand. Using custom-built software and hardware, his work aims to highlight the beauty in the basics of sound and light production and reductionist audiovisual elements that draw inspiration from physical and architectural principles. He has presented his work at venues such as SETxCTM (Tehran), ISEA (Vancouver), NZ Festival (Wellington), and NIME (London), to name a few. His installation “Rasping Music” was the winner of 1st prize for Sound Art in the last iteration of the international Sonic Arts Award in 2015 (Italy). Zareei releases his electronic music projects under the moniker mHz. His records have been published on Important Records (US), leerraum (CH), and Kasuga Records (DE). He holds a BS in Physics from Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran, a BFA in Music Technology from California Institute of the Arts, and a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, where he is a lecturer in Sonic Arts. millihertz.net
  • Paul Dunham is currently a PhD candidate at the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM), Te Kōkī at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand). He holds a Bachelor of Music (Composition) with First Class Honours. He has produced a number of sound-based works across different media. His current research is focused on creating a series of sound sculptures that, within the transdisciplinary frame of media archaeology. This research aims to establish a narrative through the convergence of obsolete and current media technologies whilst exploring the sound producing qualities of these media in his work. Previous works have been exhibited and presented at The Dowse, Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University, The Pyramid Club (Wellington) and at the Australian Computer Music Conference (Sydney), International Symposium on Electronic Art (Durban) and xCoAx (Milan).
  • Professor Dale Carnegie has a BSc. in theoretical physics and applied mathematics, an MSc (first class honors) in applied physics and electronics and a PhD thesis in computer science. He was a lead developer of the Engineering Programme at Victoria University of Wellington and established the University’s first Mechatronics Research Group. He is currently the Dean of Engineering. Professor Carnegie’s current research interests are in the area of mechatronics, autonomous mobile robots, sensors, embedded systems, adaptive control, mechatronics in music applications and engineering education. Specific areas of on-going research include autonomous search and rescue robots and full field image ranging systems. He has published and presented over 200 research papers in various journals, book chapters, conferences and patents and founded the Electronics New Zealand Conference series which is held annually.
  • Dugal McKinnon is Deputy Director of the New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī at Victoria University of Wellington where he teaches sonic art and composition, and directs the Lilburn Studios for Electronic Music. He has been a resident artist at IEM (Graz, Austria) and ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany), and STEIM (Amsterdam, NL). His artistic research spans instrumental and vocal composition, electronic music, sound and installation art. As a scholar he has a particular interest in the ecological and material dimensions of sound-based art and electronic music.