Petra Farinha

Babel tree

A network of objects that promote interaction
between humans, spaces and nature.


Creative Networking

Babel Tree is a network of objects that promote interaction between humans, spaces and nature. A network that require the collective participation/action of people to become alive, encouraging social interaction and a sense of community in urban spaces.
This communication platform has its basis in the exploration of nature elements, their relationship with spaces and possibilities of sharing.

Why trees ? Trees provide us air, food and energy - in the city they provides us also with calm and sheerness against the city's grey environment. The tree's roots expand the tree throughout space and connect them with other trees creating networks and paths of communication. To communicate is to share, impart, to make common: trees share a common ground/soil through their roots; this project intent is to take advantage of these invisible channels and use them as a way to connect humans that are spatially apart.
In the beginnings of human history, trees offered us their fruits becoming our primordial food. Now they offer us new fruits capable of receiving and emitting our thoughts - interfaces for communication.
Nevertheless due to the amount of trees, their roots create mazes where messages can get lost or follow unintended or unexpected directions. The trees roots route the communication flows at their will, at nature's will.
Thus the only available choice for the user is to listen or to speak. The user will be able to share/speak at anytime being his/her choice to interrupt the received message or wait. That's how far his choice can go, when transmitting his message he will no longer have control on the direction it will follow - no chance to choose the destination. He will also not have a choice on the provenience of the messages he can receive.

Study of process of communication and communication theories. Interested in exploring the concept of networks and protocols. How networks are organized, how do they are structured and how protocols are set and created. How typologies can influence the communication process in a network?

People in general that are curious!!!!

User Scenario
Person A is approach device A. See a microphone and a button. When talking to the microphone nothing happens but when pressing a button the device lights up ( giving feedback that it is listening). When activated, device A start to search for others devices that are active in the network and randomly selects one to send the message from Person A. The message is send to device B ( as an example) that receives the message via the speaker (or headphones). The same process start again - device B starts searching for devices that are active on the network. It can only send the message to all the nodes that are active, excluding the device from where the previous message was received.
Every user can send a message when they feel like. So imagine that person A said "Banana" when the message can back again to device A it could be " Is snowing outside". Since several messages could be passing around at the same time the absurd could be one of the results of the communication but also what motivate people to talk, have fun and try to organize to create meaning together.

* by active I mean that they are been used/activated - since the position of the device changed. Stops from be hanging to be in the user hands. A till switch or a touch sensor defines if the device is active or not)

Using a series of small radio transmitters and receivers, each device is enable to send and receive sound (voice). Each device has a microphone that is connected to a voice radio transmitter that sends data into a specific frequency. Each device has a speaker that is connected to a radio that receives data from a specific frequency. There are several devices spread in the park (this case itp lounge) but each device is not directly connected to another device.There is no direct communication between them, since the device that is sending data to other device doesn't not receive data from that same device but from another one. Is by developing a sense of community and organization that the message can be transmitted, since participants have to develop/ improve the protocol themselves to let the meaning emerge.

Till now I learned that if we like one idea we should try to implement it to see how it works and test it, even if sometimes I can feel that the result of this project can be messy and confused. But facing it as a study with different iterations, I thing that I can learn a lot with it. I am ready for testing it, analyzing the results and taking conclusions about it - hoping to learn more and more!

A possible iteration is having a log system that can log every communication in the network + time - ( less) content. Just visualizing the dynamics.