Misheardpedia is a misheard version of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the world’s most famous archive of knowledge and, in a way, a description of our world; but it relies on quantity and not on quality. We know it contains errors, partial interpretations, unverified information and so on, but still it’s our first help when we want to retrieve some knowledge. We trust and hope that what we are reading is a precise, exhaustive and objective analysis of reality.
Misheardpedia is a website which contains machine-misheard versions of Wikipedia pages. Misheardpedia wants to question such mediated models of knowledge and visions of reality proposed by the World Wide Web, also raising awareness about the fact that the virtual realm may be piloted by companies, and that the information that appears on a computer screen is not always what users find, but what search engines want them to find.
Misheardpedia is conceived as a hybrid a work between net-art, sound-art and hacktivism. Misheardpedia was realized by Alessandro Perini with the precious help of IT-developer Muhamet Ademi. The work was produced for SPOR festival 2016 (Århus, Denmark).
How does Misheardpedia work?
When it’s active, Misheardpedia’s brain continuously retrieves random Wikipedia articles, whenever they aren’t chosen and requested by users through the form on the “suggest an article” page of the Misheardpedia website.
The retrieved Wikipedia article is then read by a text-to-speech engine, and instantly retranscribed by a speech-to-text engine. This process takes place on a separate server, and is captured by a screen-grabbing software. The sound and image flow is sent to a Youtube stream, embedded on the “Live!” page of Misheardpedia, where the audience can see the articles being misheard in real-time.
Each new misheard article ends up in the Misheardpedia archive. In an indefinite time, the whole Wikipedia will be retranscribed in its entirety into machine-misheard versions, and the misheard encyclopedia will then be complete. At that point the process of updating the articles, and adding the newly written Wikipedia entries, will start.