Talking the Fish. Fishtalk transcoded. Concept for ISEA 2004: Helsinki - Stockholm - Tallinn

ISEA 2004, the 12th International Symposium on Electronic Art, took place in Helsinki, Tallinn and on a multi-venue cruiser ferry (August 15-17) connecting the harbour cities. During the Baltic cruise and the conferences in Tallinn and Helsinki, leading media artists and labs from allover the world presented their works.

"Talking the Fish. Fishcode transcoded" was selected to be included into the ISEA ferry programme, scheduled as follows:

  • Sun 15.8. at 4 pm departure Helsinki - Stockholm
  • "Interfacing Sound"
  • Mon 16.8.:
  • 10 am arrival Stockholm
  • 12 am departure Stockholm - Mariehamn
  • "networked experience"
  • 7 pm arrival Mariehamn DMZ: geopolitics of media
  • 11pm departure Mariehamn - Tallinn
  • Tue 17.8. 9.30 am arrival Tallinn

"Talking the fish" would have been performed during the 4-hour visit to the Mariehamn harbour in the archipelago (which is also a demilitarized zone between Finland and Sweden). It was never realized there.

The original idea

The ferry is anchoring in the harbour of Mariehamn for 4 hours. Already before arrival of the ferry, a fisher woman is there and fishes sounds out of the sea, with underwater microphones. These sounds are amplified in the harbour and are also transmitted on the approaching ferry. The closer the ferry gets the louder also its sound in the harbour and on the ship itself. During the ferry's stay in the harbour, the soundfisher continues to fish and thereby creates a soundenviroment for the ship and the harbour.

As the ferry enters the DMZ (demilitarized zone), the performer on the ship starts with the transmission of signals with flags, that originated from military. She uses specially designed flags.

The soundfisher in the harbour is accompanied by another performer, who is decoding the signals sent from the ferry, using binoculars.

The performer on the ferry sends the greeting sequence until it is understood in the harbour, and the receiver answers with the corresponding signs.

Once the ferry starts its trip again, the signlaing goes on until the ship leaves the DMZ again.

The performance intends to ironically comment our usage of technology.