Subsculpture 10"Microphones" is an interactive installation featuring one or several 1939-vintage Shure microphones, placed on mic stands around the exhibition room at different heights. Each microphone has been modified so that inside its head is a tiny loudspeaker and a circuit board connected to a network of hidden control computers. When a public member speaks into a microphone, it records his or her voice and immediately plays back the voice of a previous participant, as an echo from the past.
The result is surprising because the sound comes directly from the microphone, which "speaks back", and because it is a memory of what already has been said. People initially only say something short like "hello" or "I am the decider" but as they realize that the resulting echo is actually recordings from previous participants they start giving longer speeches, they sing, or the play "exquisite corpse". Half the time the microphones play back the voice that was just recorded, while the other half they reproduce a recording at random from up to 600,000 that each microphone can store. This distribution allows the participant to understand the interaction but it also creates an experience that is out of his or her control. Ultimately, the piece's content is entirely generated by the participation of the public.