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Tip of The Tongue Not The Teeth

The Kantian sublime is evoked at the point of our inability to wholly comprehend or rationalize the notion of infinity. In this manner it can be read as a failure in signal processing: a conceptual I/O error. If the sublime itself had a voice it is certain that we would not recognize it as such, let alone understand what it is saying and it is in this light that we have constructed our piece: I/O TOTTNTT.

Tip of The Tongue Not The Teeth (TOTTNTT) from Grieve Perspective on Vimeo.

This materiality of this work is a layered engagement with established and emerging digital technologies. The image of the face was made with a home-made time-of-flight light camera. Though light is its medium it is blind: delivering 3D meshes of its subjects by calculating the time that light takes to reflect from their surface.

The animation properties of the head are derived from a spectrogram of the phrase: ‘Tip of the tongue, not the teeth’ (TOTTNTT), which are also the words that the figure is mouthing to us. The phrase itself verges on the meaningless: on one hand it is a alliterative figure of speech, used to test dictate prowess, on the other hand it is advice on the giving of oral sex.

Mixed in with this is a sound derived from a spectrogram generated using an image of the cover of the Voyager Golden Record, a phonograph record sent out with the Voyager space shuttle in 1977 with the aspirational but largely hypothetical purpose of transmitting a curated sound sampler of man-made and recorded earth sounds to aliens.

In its entirety we hoped to have delivered a picture of folly and failure: where an inability to communicate is an end in itself.
A collaboration between Grieve Perspective and Debbie Ding.