WHISPER is a minimalist machine that playfully enforces the new norm of social distancing whilst respecting our deep seated human need to communicate in the flesh. The project draws on the idea of a ‘Whisper Gallery’, whereby a curved surface is tuned to perfectly guide your voice from one side to another [think St. Pauls Cathedral, Grand Central Station, or the Barossa Reservoir Wall in South Australia], effectively allowing a whisper to travel an unusually long distance.
WHISPER adds a visual dimension by mirroring the curve so whilst you must face away from each other to communicate, a distorted visual of the other is available. In times where direct physical contact is illegal, and digital communication a necessity, WHISPER sits somewhere in between. A ‘screen’ separates you, yet the sound that reaches you is undeniably human. The machine requires participation of at two people seated at the focal points, respects the 1.5m social distancing but allows for a whisper to reach your ears – a moment of intimacy without the panic.