A media installation by Jona Hoier & Markus Murschitz
Yerkish is a symbolic language developed by Austrian philosopher Ernst von Glasersfeld in the 1970s in order to investigate the communication behaviors of primates. A machine consisting of push-buttons, a display and a computer was invented in order to teach chimpanzees Yerkish.
The media installation BANANA PERIOD restages a recorded dialogue between the machine and Lana – the first chimpanzee to speak Yerkish. The conversation contains a variety of requests such as “please give piece of banana”, but also includes a number of misunderstandings revealing the machine’s lack of interpretation. The conversation is a prime example of the troublesome flaws and insufficiency ingrained in any primate-machine-communication. Sometimes talking to machines drives us primates crazy – we simply go bananas.