smSage, by Tim Redfern + Ralph Borland, is a device to plant a murmur in the city. Mimicking a piece of faceless urban infrastructure, it murmurs to itself and to passersby, and seems to come from nowhere, a blank spot on an ordinary wall… Or which ubiquitous urban object is producing the sound? Which alarm-box, conduit, or… security camera?
smSage receives SMS text messages, which are converted to audible speech, using a text-to-speech engine with a synthesized voice. It speaks these messages coherently at first, but which each repetition, starts to mix them with previous messages it has received, producing a concrete poem. The voice becomes quieter … A new message wakes it up again, for brief lucidity, before sense begins to dissolve again. Continue reading