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Information as Storyteller

On November 9th, 2019, I was part of an artists exhibition at Mutable Studios in Los Angeles as part of Irrational Exhibits 11: Place-Making and Social Memory. My contribution was on using AI to mix the sounds of Cold War-era Numbers Stations, sounds of space and radio telemetry, and period songs about radio such as Joy Division's Transmission. My work on this project is ongoing as finding quality wav files for the stations has proven difficult

Screen Shot 2020-10-26 at 10.46.17
performance_finalJana Thompson
00:00 / 29:37

Artists' Statement

In his essay “The Storyteller”,  Walter Benjamin contrasts storytelling, communication that relies solely on memory to information, which he defines as the communications of modernity. Our modern social memory is the bridge between these - shared experiences of communications from radio in the early twentieth century to social media and mobile devices on our own time. Tonight, we wish to evoke both - the history of the setting - the Bendix Building - with the temporal significance of November 9th as the symbolic end of the cold war.

Communication can be accessible to only certain individuals or communities, due to encrypted signals, in-group symbols and signs, or lack of a common language. Tonight, using AI and XR, we are endeavoring to evoke meaning by peeling though the layers of meaning and memory present in place and time. These are rough sketches as we begin to explore this intersection of semiotics and social history through the lens of twenty-first century technologies.

Finally, we look at movement and sound as a medium for storytelling - using information and memory together in Sara Sithi-Amnui's performance with Nami. For more information on Sara's work, please see

This piece has been updated and was played again at Z's Space in Seattle, WA as part of the "Night of Noise" on September 23rd, 2022.

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