Chit Chat

by Matty Sallin with David Herman

WHAT: ChitChat is an installation that projects a speech bubble above your head as you talk. The bubble swells with the text “blah bu blah blah” as you continue to talk. The output text reflects your volume by changing size. Textual attributes such as bold text and italic text also shift to reflect voice pitch. If you or friend remains silent, they will eventually get a corresponding thought bubble.

WHY: In social situations where you mix with people you don’t know well, most of us scramble to find topics of common interest (“nice weather, eh?”). This is small talk, and there are varying degrees of focus and relevance, but often both parties are aware that the dialogue is forced and this prevents it from gaining depth. I wanted to make this humorously explicit with the assumption that everything said at this installation is small talk.

Exhibited at

Featured on


About msallin

Matty Sallin is the founder of Since 1999, Matty has worked to develop consumer products that manage everyday information and media in a satisfying, illuminating, and beautiful way. His professional and academic work has focused on social media, information design and information visualization. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Good Morning America, GQ, American Public Media, Make Magazine, Boing Boing, Engadget, Gizmodo, Coolhunting, ResFest, and others. Matty holds a Master’s degree from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and a Bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz.
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