In the mid-90’s, James K-M and I worked on three interactive artworks called Mediaprobes. They’ve been viewed in various exhibitions world-wide. Below is their description and a still image from each. (Originally programmed in Director, they need to be redone in another format so they can be seen without being delivered on a disk.)
MediaProbes compress concepts together to form an entirely new type of
multimedia icon. The relationships between concepts from Marshall McLuhan,
Barrington Nevitt, James Joyce and Wyndham Lewis are juxtaposed with
experimental animated text and image along with narration and interactive
MediaProbes reverse our normal concept of interactivity. Instead of the viewer
interacting with the presentation, MediaProbes present sensory interactivity,
sending complex signals back to the viewer, whose limited interaction by
mouseclick is rewarded by the “probeclick” sent back by the synaesthetic icon to
the brain.

Disparate ideas are forced into compressed interrelationship and much
like a chemical reaction they become fused in a new form of iconic expression.
Found images and sounds in the communication environment are combined with
intentional imagery and text selections in a very controlled setting. Working with
the minimum of input creates a reversal effect, which is formed by this forcing
together of ideas originally expressed in different media. The only appropriate
response for the viewer is a momentary internal synaesthetic shortcircuit, an
empty moment of “unlearning”.


One quote from McLuhan is illustrated with appropriated audio and treated video. The flowing vertical text on one side of the main screen is one of ten thunders from James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, which usher in a new development for humanity. The opposite vertical text is McLuhan/Nevitt’s analysis of the meaning of each thunder.



The Artist is Older than the Fish, a quote from Wyndham Lewis, is placed over text from McLuhan, in which he describes the TV viewer as a skin diver. This fragmented text appears at intervals throughout the presentation, while video shot through a rear-view mirror is the central visual image. Audio involves three simultaneous tracks on the topic of out of body experience.


A quote from Barrington Nevitt: “The perceptive artist learns how to repeat and
magnify his errors in order to create his own distinctive style for sharing new
truth”. Behind each chair is the image of an animal. Music is a treated midi-file
from the rhythm section for The Girl from Ipanema, and carries on throughout the piece. The blue buttons, when clicked, reveal quicktime sequences of futurist
narrative by Carol Sill or sound poems by James K-M.

(Download a free pdf excerpt from my book Documentary Print. Click on the title to receive the entire SRF Interim Report Document on Living in the Future.)

(Link here for a random post from my blog.)


3 thoughts on “Mediaprobes

  1. Hi Carol,

    It’s a fantastic fall evening
    in Southern California,
    with a glorious wildfire-painted claret sky.

    Here’s a couple of thoughts…

    Unsolicited Suggestion #1.
    I’m sure you’ve considered it,
    but I betcha a good flash person
    could make a decent reproduction
    of those mediaprobes.

    Unsolicited Suggestion #2.
    Those SNAP previews are not my favorite.


  2. Pingback: Discover the Future of Literacy(ies) « CAROL SILL

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