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t e l e m e t r y


t e l e m e t r y

transmissions from the galores

archive for February of 2007

bionic baby continued

posted by janet on February 25, 2007
Here's Evelyn after getting her brand new ear hardware.

evelyn's cochlear implant

The appointment really was just to give her the hardware and test out the connections. This will be followed by two more appointments to adjust the levels and settings for optimal performance. The whole gadget has a little Zippo-sized pack with the processor she will wear in her pocket, but they are already working on a new version that is completely self-contained. They gave her a koala bear toy that has the same hardware, so she can get familiar with the whole situation. And the family gets together regularly with other kids who have cochlear implants, too.

I wasn't in the room when they turned it on (it's not all at once - they turn it on little by little), but Linley said she didn't react too much, mostly a puzzled look. By the end of the appointment she was banging on drums and ringing a bell. For a while, sounds won't be any more relevant to her than getting tickled or having some other input that means nothing and might be annoying. She'll go to therapy to learn how to interpret this new weird sense, and connect it with the visual language she already has (Signed English).

As my friend Jessica points out, the cool thing is that she'll always be able to turn it off if she wants to return to serenity. No need for earplugs while the neighbors are whooping it up at 3am.

bionic cyborg baby

posted by janet on February 17, 2007

My one year-old niece (well, great niece) Evelyn, is deaf by birth and is getting her cochlear implact turned on next Tuesday. I'm going to Children's Hospital to watch her hear her first sounds.

Can you believe it—the new devices not only can get software upgrades to improve sound quality, but she can plug her ear directly into an MP3 player! Bionic cyborg baby.

Cochlear implants on wikipedia
How it might sound
A bionic quest for Bolero (ear software)

chilling effect

posted by janet on February 11, 2007

On Friday I heard that the head of the Cartoon Network resigned over the marketing campaign that lead to a bomb scare in Boston.

Sean Stevens and Peter Berdovsky, the artists who placed the homemade lightboxes in Boston, are awaiting arraignment on charges filed by the Massachusetts State Attorney General on February 1, of placing hoax devices (aka "infernal machines") and disorderly conduct.

removing mooninite lightboxes - from alternet.org

While I don't think Aqua Teen Hunger Force or the trans-city lightbox installations are genius, the antics did cause events to unfold in such as way as to make the truly brilliant "1970's hairstyles" press interview possible. It does my heart good any time things can be raised to that level of absurdity.

But now, a ruling body once again finds itself in the embarrassing position of having overreacted, quickly arresting an artist in a melodramatic public display, and prosecution must be carried forward to save face. The overall situation is delightfully absurd, but the reality is that damage is being done to freedom of expression.

Beyond the fear frenzy, there is the chilling effect this has on artists and anyone who uses city streets as a place to exercise free speech, or make art outside of a gallery or museum.

This wasn't intended to be art. But because someone is now getting publicly slapped down and potentially imprisoned because a public display was taken the wrong way, it adds to the pile of considerations artists make when deciding to do something a little unconventional or risky.

And so the temperature drops a few more degrees. And artists with something challenging to say or an impolite question to ask reel themselves in a bit. What really saddens me is that I'm sure some people think that's a good thing. Keep art where it belongs, indoors, in a context that lets us separate it from real life. Who needs art that makes us uncomfortable?

Two years ago we helped put on a fundraiser called "Scared Artless" for Steven's Kurtz's defense against bioterrorism charges. Katie Kurtz (no relation) gave a great speech which is still very relevant. She quoted an Adrienne Rich poem:

When my dreams showed signs
of becoming
politically correct
no unruly images
escaping beyond borders
when walking in the streets I found my
themes cut out for me
knew what I would not report
for fear of enemies’ usage
then I began to wonder


It doesn’t matter what you think.
Words are found responsible
All you can do is choose them
Or choose
to remain silent. Or, you never had a choice,
which is why the words that do stand
are responsible
and this is verbal privilege