The Thursday Club: Alex Gillespie, Brian O’Neill & Robb Mitchell – London, 13 December 2007 (6-8pm)

THE THURSDAY CLUB is an open forum discussion group for anyone interested in the theories and practices of cross-disciplinarity, interactivity, technologies and philosophies of the state-of-the-art in today’s (and tomorrow’s) cultural landscape(s).


How can “speaking the thoughts of others” enhance and subvert social interaction both face-to-face and remotely ?

What is a cyranoid ? Cyranoids are people whose speech is being controlled by another person. The term comes from the character Cyrano de Bergerac in Edmond Rostand’s 19th Century play. Cyrano, who is ugly but articulate, helps his handsome but inarticulate friend win the heart of Roxane by providing eloquent and witty prompts from the sidelines. The outcome is that Roxane falls in love with Cyrano’s mind through interacting with the body of his friend. Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist, in the 1970s coined the term cyranoid to describe a person whose utterances were being controlled by a second person, the source, via radio transmission. The cyranoid wears a headset which receives input from a microphone in a different location. The source then speaks into the microphone, and the cyranoid just has to repeat what they hear in their ear. So that the source knows what is going on, the cyranoid also wears a microphone which transmits everything it hears back to the source. In this way one person can control the utterances of another unbeknownst to other people. While the headsets used by Milgram were conspicuous and limited to transmitting verbal data, now, it is possible to use incredibly inconspicuous equipment to transmit both verbal instruction and for the source to receive a video stream of what the cyranoid is seeing. The internet means that the cyranoid and the source can be separated by huge distances, with sources simply ‘logging in’ via the web to a given cyranoid, being able to see and hear what the cyranoid hears and sees, and then being able to transmit thoughts to the cyranoid or living, breathing avatar.

The audiences are invited to participate in a social event cum performance seminar and experience being cyranoids, synchronoids or sources…

ALEX GILLESPIE holds a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Cambridge. His research concerns the Self and self-reflection and explores the social interactional and cultural basis of the self. He is a Lecturer at Stirling University and, currently, Co-chair of the Organising Committee for the Fifth International Conference on the Dialogical Self.

BRIAN O’NEILL is a clinical psychologist at Southern General Hospital, Glasgow. He is interested in cognitive impairments, the disability they cause and how assistive technology for cognition might provide useful treatments. He also is founding member of Thunder Bug sound system.

ROBB MITCHELL is an artist, curator and events organiser who has exhibited and lectured widely in the UK and abroad, among other venues in: Market Gallery (Glasgow), Edinburgh College of Art, Intermedia Gallery (Glasgow), Galerie Bortiers (Brussels), Artspace (Sydney), FACT (Liverpool), Mediabath (Helsinki), ICA (London), CCA (Glasgow), National Museum of Scotland (Edinburgh), Ars Electronica (Linz) and Eyebeam (NYC).


Supported by the Goldsmiths GRADUATE SCHOOL and the Goldsmiths DIGITAL STUDIOS

6pm until 8pm, Seminar Rooms at Ben Pimlott Building (Ground Floor, right), Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, SE14 6NW

FREE, ALL ARE WELCOME. No booking required.

For more information check or email Maria X at drp01mc [at]

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