An experiment to trace how stories evolve through the game of Chinese whispers, caused by human memory inaccuracies and computer record discrepancies.
From July 8th to 13th, 2023, this experiment took place at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Project Workshop in Kanazawa, functioning as an 'Open Lab.' It was conducted in the form of an interactive installation.


Draft Map / 設計図

Step 1 - Listening to the story read aloud by the computer.

①: Listening to the story read aloud by Laptop 1

① :ラップトップ1が読み上げる物語を聞き取る

②: Recording the story heard in ① with Laptop 2


③: The story told in ② is archived in online storage


④: Subsequent visitors listen to the stories left by previous visitors

(following steps ① to ③)



Extract from the database - the visitors can check how the story has been modified

In this experiment, participants witnessed the transformation of a story by engaging in a game of Chinese Whisper between humans and computers, facilitated by automatic text-to-speech and speech recognition technology. The starting point for this experiment was the famous story of 'Imohori Goro,' a tale passed down in Kanazawa. Over the course of five days and with a total of 30 participants, the story of 'Imohori Goro' underwent changes, with Goro transforming into an old man at one point and eventually disappearing, and the tale of digging sweet potatoes evolving into a story of mining for gold.

What we learned here is that when there were participants from Kanazawa, they were familiar with this famous story as a local folklore, and the name 'Goro' occasionally resurfaced in the process.

Some participants realized that the ever-changing nature of the game was what made it interesting. The game of Chinese whispers, based on the premise that it wouldn't be fun if things didn't change, was a meaningful discovery for us, living in a Japanese society that seriously seeks the "correct answer," as it revealed that there could be multiple right answers.

The intervention of technology allowed us to visualize the accelerated pace of change in stories that would have taken centuries to evolve. From this, we could glimpse the role we ourselves play in change, which we often fail to notice as we are typically immersed in the broader currents of transformation in history.

Furthermore, while this evolving narrative focuses on the positive aspects of change, there is also an aspect that, depending on how you look at it, could be seen as endorsing fake news. Thus, I would like to examine this aspect as well for the further development. 

Finally, together with Helen Papaioannou, who was visiting Kanazawa for another project, we conducted approximately a five-minute live performance using the material collected in this open lab, showcasing the process of narrative transformation. During this performance, we discussed the meaning of live performance, digital archiving, and other aspects with guest facilitator Mr. Takashi Sawa.







最後に、別のプロジェクトで金沢に訪れていたHelen Papaioannouと共に、こちらのオープンラボで集めた「物語が変容する過程」を素材として約8分間のライブパフォーマンスを行なった。そこではライブで演奏することの意味、デジタルのアーカイブ性などもゲストファシリテーターの澤隆志さんと共にパフォーマンス後語り合った。
Back to Top