[(fish pain)] Series

The "singing fish" is truly representative of a fad-driven consumer culture, but at the same time it is a technological marvel of robotics and microcircuitry. Most people enjoy the first five minutes of the singing fish, but then it is generally discarded, a brief flash of technological tackiness. I was driven to try to give this technological whimsy a longer-lasting and deeper message.

Let's face it, the fish on the wall is not "happy." It is worrying. It is a fish out of water. It is another creature abused and exploited by man. It is in pain. It hurts. "Fish Pain" allows the formerly singing fish to truly speak its mind about its predicament and pitiful place in the life of humanity.

"School of Fish Pain", 2004:

View Windows Media Video

Technical Background: The seven fish were each provided with a small circuit to decode information sent over the fish bus. The bus had address lines to indicate which fish was being addressed, and three data lines to carry head, mouth, and tail motor actuation data. Driving the fish bus was a DTMF decoding circuit. Two DTMF tones were sent for every command, one with the fish address, the other with the motor data. DTMF was chosen since it was easy to synchronize the movements with the audio. A PC played back random selections of audio clips. The clips had speech on right right channel, and DTMF fish commands on the left channel. Clips were authored using Audacity.

School of Fish Pain was shown at Fraser Gallery Bethesda "Artomatic Top 10" group show, Jan. 14 - Feb. 9 , 2005.

"Fish in Pain", 2003:

Click here to watch QuickTime clip.


Technical Background: A Basic Stamp (Rev.D) is programmed with the proper timing information to control the Shark motor system and also to activate a Radio Shack 20-second digital audio recorder, which contains the pre-recorded audio.