The BabelVane is a developing project where we loan pairs of friends and family small USB powered Internet Of Things devices – where a knob controls a home and away Vane (or pointer). To talk they must create their own language, in the long history from Morse Code, Prison Tap Codes! and all the languages of the world today.

All of the communication is gathered and displayed on a central console that becomes a second artwork, and anonymous flow of silent messages.

We started BabelVane as we asked  ourselves how people might hold hands over the internet and how can we lay bare the workings of the devices that increasingly live alongside us.

The BabelVane works through a central ESP 32 microprocessor on each device co-ordniating a potentiomete (knob), two servo motors (Vanes), a single NeoPixel LED and a push button. Messages are routed through your wifi to a specially created server and on to your allocated partner.

We initially plan for each host to have a device for 3 weeks before returning it to us, and on to the next hosts…

The code for this project was created by Chatrapathi Akula at Vasthu, with support from Kyle Hirani. The initial concept was created with Nick Sparks and developed at a Surge/Neverthere residency. Development was supported through 2020 by 101OutdoorArts and Arts Council England Lottery funding.

The BabelVane project builds out of our work with technologost Kyle Hirani on our Celestial Sound Cloud . There is lots about this tech work we like, it enables us to do interesting things, it is very powerful and confusing and it opens the door to not only the systems that magically facilitate our lives but also the world of humans who control these systems.