Seeing Sound: Ishi & IRENE

This episode features artist Ben Wood and physicist Carl Haber discussing their respective approaches to cultural preservation. Ben Wood is an installation artist who took an interest in presenting early recordings of Ishi, who is known as the last of his tribe. Early recordings such as these, held in the collection of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, pose a problem in that they are in a state of decay that does not allow them to be played back. Enter the work of Carl Haber, whose research as a particle physicist led him to see that we could create a scanner powerful enough to visualize and playback these decaying recordings.