Morse Code Dance Machine

Morse Code dance machine 2015

Interactive communication dance device.
Collaboration with Rachel Eli Jones.

Morse Code Dance Machine is designed to allow two people to engage in conversation through movement.

What happens when our bodies speak for us? In the digital age, situated safely behind screens, we have little need to rely on body language to express ourselves or to understand others. Because of this, not only have we become less fluent, we have become scared of it. Yet still, whether it be behind a screen or person to person, in emotional moments when there are no words, we can’t help but rely on our bodies to tell our story – a sigh, a stomp, a fist. Our need to express becomes an animal desperate to free itself from our chests – a primal desire to be seen, heard, felt.

To investigate the connection between the body and the voice, we created the Morse Code Dance Machine to compel its users into a dance that speaks. In order to do this, we employed morse code, an antiquated yet prolific language, that has a syncopated beat, not unlike that of tap or step dance. This machine, which plays off of arcade-style interfaces and retro computer aesthetics, harnesses this rhythmic code so that users can participate in an instant message conversation.

In this prototype, we attempt to combine human, mechanical, and digital communication techniques in a way that asks the users to consider the elements of how we communicate person to person that is lost behind the screen. We invite you to explore the challenge and delight of trying to use your body to speak for you.