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Elizabeth Vander Zaag

Talk Nice/SAY

Elizabeth Vander Zaag, Talk Nice, 1999-2000
The Foundation is supporting artist Elizabeth Vander Zaag as she researches and develops on-line interactive scenarios using the prosodic speech analysis software (Speak and Yell - SAY) that she has designed. Previously used in Talk Nice (1999-2000), an artwork in which the artist plays with the speech patterns of teenage girls in interactive peer evaluation scenarios, SAY measures specific non-verbal attributes in the human voice, namely amplitude, pitch, word rate, phrase parsing and pauses.

Vander Zaag would like to complete the programming needed to make this application available on-line. By doing so, she hopes to highlight different navigation and communication possibilities for on-line users. As noted in a description of the Talk Nice project:

"Increasing emotional range of human interaction with computers by giving navigational power to the tone of our voice rather than mouse clicks and text is also a primary intent of this piece. Emoticons-symbols that allow for emotional expression through keyboard symbols-encode a stream of narrative on the borders of the frame. The human urge for emotional expression through the limited digital interface is celebrated in this piece." (1)

Expressing emotion through other senses than the visual or proprioceptive in a digital context is paramount in challenging the constraints of the computer screen. The on-line version of Talk Nice will invite users to experiment with a more extensive virtual corporeal vocabulary while highlighting the performative in oral communication.

Angela Plohman © 2001 FDL

(1) Talk Nice by Elizabeth Vander Zaag," The Banff Centre for Arts Canadian Creative Innovation Initiative.