FEEDBACK BABIES

The Fisher-Price Nursery Monitor is a low watt household radio set that was commercially sold throughout North America in the early 1980s. It was intended to “let parents be in two places at once” by transmitting the sounds emanating from the baby nursery (i.e.: cries of a baby in distress) to a wireless receiver accompanying a parent in another part of the home.

However, these devices were not without their technological nuisances. The signal carried between the baby monitors was often littered with crosstalk from competing radio waves, causing undesirable audible interference. Furthermore, as with any audio input/output system, when both units are in close proximity they produce disruptive audio feedback – unpleasant noise that could rudely awaken a napping child.

FEEDBACK BABIES is an electromechanical sound installation that exploits these inherent glitches. The receivers are attached to motors and slowly bow back and forth in front of the emitters, creating a subtle soundscape of nuanced feedback patterns and squelching radio interference reminiscent of the whimpers of crying babies (see video for detailed documentation).

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