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Whispering Reeds

Paolo Basso | Damiano Gui | Martina Maitan

Venice is a theatre: dark streets, gardens seen through gratings, actors and citizens, the daily life of a lively and powerful city glimpsed in obscure corners. It enhances the desire to get lost and drift like sleepy waves in hidden channels – from which rise intimate thoughts and feelings which can only be whispered.

We were inspired by the myth of King Midas. His barber had sworn to tell no one his terrible secret: that the king’s hair hid a pair of huge donkey ears. But the weight of the secret oppressed the barber. So he dug a hole, whispered the secret inside it, then covered it up. But from the hole grew a thick bed of reeds which, with every breath of wind, murmured: “King Midas has donkey ears!”

Whispering Reeds is an interactive system, accessed by a mobile device, through which people can “plant a reed” anywhere in Venice to record their thoughts and sensations, and can listen to the “whispering reeds” of others.

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