Diastories, 2009
Interactive installation
Installation view
Table of questions and answers
Combinations of characters
Programme interface


Original title: „Dialood. Uurimus vääritimõistmisest“

„Diastories. Analysis about misunderstanding”

Art Hall Gallery, Tallinn

Interactive installation


This is an interactive installation exploring and modelling the creational mechanisms of misunderstanding. The term ’miscommunication’ is discussed in psychology and semiotics, if the message is not received in the form it was meant to be received. The nature and reasons behind the malfunction depend on the person and the context. The installation „ Diastories “ offers the viewer a chance to take part in both successful and distracted communication. It is a visualisation of misunderstanding and a commentary for it.

The content of the exhibition is our every-day miscommunication and misunderstanding, which takes place among kin, acquaintances, co-workers, children and parents. Using the same language, expressions with the same meaning, we can sometimes experience that these are understood differently: we do not understand or we are understood differently than we would like to. We speak to our peers in different languages. Communication works and at the same time doesn’t work. Non-functional communication also has a purpose – tightening relations and binds. Often it is not important how a question is answered, it only matters that it is answered. Participatory installation and a specially designed computer program provide the opportunity to randomly combine different questions with different answers, giving the viewer a way to create a meaningful/non-meaningful dialogue.

The so-called thoughtless act of communication that cannot be exactly understood can sometimes be similar to art communication and plural intentionality common to art: a message can be interpreted in different ways. When in art communication the plurality of meaning is rather positive then in personal communication these multi-meaningful, philosophical, poetic and other “hazy” messages have their own discrete charm, but also a characteristic of producing misunderstanding.


To the sentence “Can you think of the future?” one could answer “Think about more important things” or “I assumed that you’d ask that”. The internal message is a wish to not deal with the issue, although an answer has been provided.


The functioning of the installation:
The viewer has to insert his or her hand to an area of sensors, to which a person on the screen asks a question. An answer to the question on another screen is found on the basis of randomness.



Chris Hales – programming in Adobe Director
Teijo Pellinen – DVD Studio Pro
Kalle Tiisma – sensors
Madis Mihkelsoo - camera
Hans-Gunter Lock, Allan Tõnissoo – audio, tech help
Actors (Teoteater): Priit Matiisen, Meeli Seermaa, Kristiine Truu, Andres Kuldma, Piret Viisimaa