« Baby Love is the second installment of Shu Lea Cheang’s Locker Baby Project which also includes Baby Play (presented at NTT[ICC], Tokyo in 2001) and Baby Work (to be realized). Referring to Ryu Murakami’s noted novel, Coin Locker Babies (1980), the updated locker babies are born out of Tokyo coin lockers by DPT (Dolly Polly Transgency) with genes extracted from deep-sea pearls. The “biobot” locker babies are the clone generation of our sci-fi fantasy reality, entrusted to receive, store, transmit and negotiate human memory and emotions. The teacups are modeled after the spinning teacup of the old-time playground and as such have a somewhat nostalgic presence that collides with the cloned baby. The baby adorned with a locker key, a LED display with random locker numbers, is installed with a baby machine (a Mac mini with 802.11 wifi connection). The spinning wheel on the teacup is wired with sensors. The sensor data (direction and speed) sent via RS 232 and 802.11 to the baby commands the baby machine whose sound engine (written in MaxMSP), receives and processes the MP3 database. When the teacup is in motion, its direction and speed vary the shuffle and rearrange the love songs in the baby engine. The teacup’s bottom plate, inflated with a silicon tube, encloses a circular strip of contact bumper so that the teacups can safely bump into each other, in a gentler version of the fairground bumper cars. When teacups collide, the baby engine is informed, sound files are exchanged and remixed and played back into the web stream.
In Baby Love, Shu Lea Cheang continues her exploration of our contemporary obsessive immersion in the virtual life of the internet and its impact on cultural practices. It is an installation which mixes nostalgia for a seemingly simpler age with the technically boggling interactive technology of the connections on the net, Cheang seems to be asking where will the ever new frontiers of the web take us? Will it lead to an expanded universe of knowledge or to a frightening scenario of dehumanization, where even the emotions of a baby can be programmed at will?
Love songs can be uploaded, deposited, recycled for the clone babies of the installation at http://babylove.biz where the viewer can also find complete technical descriptions of the installation and download images. «
Baby Love was initially produced by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts commission with support from Council for Culture Affairs, Taiwan in collaboration with SQV Design International, Tatung University, Mechanical Engineering department, eLife Techonology Innovation Center, Sony Computer Science Laboratory Paris. US exhibition liaison: Taipei Cultural Center [TECO], New York »
Chelsea Art Museum PRESS RELEASE