The Black Box is an interactive sound installation based on the control mechanism, examining the algorithm-powered censorship in the digital sphere and its impacts on our behaviours and ways of thinking. It involves a mysterious black box with a small single-board computer, sound sensor and speaker hidden inside. The onlookers are encouraged to read out the artist statement but don't know that certain randomly chosen words will trigger a sharp alarm in the box. They may guess what content is on the blocklist and avoid them, or neglect the noise and go ahead. By delivering a provocative experience, the project further questions the opacity in the decision-making behind the suppression of speech and information.
The concept derived from my encounter with censorship when I wrote for a sketch comedy show in China. The most frustrating circumstance is more than the restriction itself: lacking clear and consistent content guidelines, which the authority likely did on purpose to leave the creatives in limbo. I seek to approach the idea of creating an irritating interactive experience to unpack the tension around the power structure.

Adam Hsieh (concept development/art direction/production)
Raspberry Pi, sound sensors, speaker, paper box, earplugs, printed paper

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