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Multimedia Project

A friend of mine asked what the audio is and I thought you may also like to know: it’s an online demo of a text-to-speech program reading Buddhist quotes.

3 Responses
  1. Anne Dalke permalink*
    April 26, 2009

    quite the coup, here…

    I am struck, first, by the remarkable appropriateness of your audio choice: the text-to-speech program has such an oft-kilter quality; it really contributes to the “argument” about the illusory nature of self.

    What really intrigues me most here, though, is your choice of message: that self doesn’t exist, and that we will suffer as long as we persist on pursuing it. That really rachets up the questions we have been asking for the past few weeks, about the relationship between our real-life selves and our on-line avatars; it suggests (just for starters!) that we started in entirely the wrong (and entirely illusory?) space. Rather than asking what the relationship is, we should have begun (or @ least ended!) by questioning the terms of engagement.

    Also striking to me to see, in this morning’s NYTimes Magazine, a very-relevant article called Enlightenment Therapy, about the relationship between Zen and psychoanalysis, in which a long-time Zen master, in therapy, admits to “how risky samadhi [oneness, ineffable joy] is from a psychological point of view.” So there’s more to say on this (and all) subjects…thanks so much for turning the conversation in this direction.

  2. Alexandra Funk permalink
    April 26, 2009

    Your video is actually the first project that I looked at. Like Anne, I was surprised by the message of your project. Anne and I have been reading a book outside of class called Natural-Born Cyborgs. I’m convinced that one of the arguments Andy Clark (the author) was making was exactly what you have presented here (although Anne says she didn’t pick up on this at all).

    The last bit of your video is especially striking. Where did you get the idea to use Buddhist quotes? Did you know about these particular ones before this project? What do you think letting go of a sense of self means in terms of gender? Is gender something we decide based on our sense of self? Would it exist without a sense of self?

    Great job!

  3. Hillary permalink
    April 26, 2009

    Like Anne, I really like your use of the online text-to-speech software. While in places you can tell it is not real, there are other places were it does quite a good job and it’s hard to believe that we have created software that can replicate human speech, as well as this program does. Speech software has been around for quite awhile (my brother’s first mac laptop that he got in 1994 had really basic text-to-speech software) It is also interesting that the voices are very distinctly gendered.

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