Research creation on embodied technologies for inclusive (artistic) communication, in this case non-verbal expression through implants in the body of the artist, substituting their voice and linking to experiences like games, film, music. The research could be shared through an interactive experience in the dome.
I am planning for the creation of a seamless and immersive space where participants sync as one organism through sensors. The format is an audiovisual and haptic experience where the artist connects with the audience/participants through NFC chip implants and pulse sensors. The artist plays audio through the implants and this is visualized in real time on a dome together with audiovisual data from the participants heartbeats. On the floor there are stations/seats where the participants connect through pulse sensors if they want. Some stations have haptic boards where people who can not see or hear the other output, can feel the shape of the sound. Adding a 360 camera at one station would also make it possible to for people to log on to this seat virtually from anywhere, I am also planning to create a virtual avatar/clone.
Depending on Covid restrictions, there could be an option for participants to scan the artists implants to co-create the audio accompanying the heartbeats from the people in the room. In either case the research and experience will be discussed in a panel or Q&A at some point so that the technology can be explained and experienced close-up.
The intention is to create new interfaces and raise awareness around privacy, bias, personal freedom, digital intimacy and different ways of expression and communication that includes more beings. In my case, neurodiversity with speaking issues early in life is at the core of the voice prototype. The experience will be designed to be accessible for as many body functions as possible. An important part is to demystify technologies and show the current state of it close-up, let people touch and test it, and discuss its possibilities, challenges, accessibility, bias in AI systems, notions of cyborgs etc.
NFC stands for Near Field Communication which means that the chip is only powered when a reader/device like a smartphone or tablet is within 2 cm of the chip/skin. Consent and physical presence is therefore necessary to be able to access the data on the chip. The chip is about 1cm long, inserted through a sterile needle, in a very simple and fast healing process. The chip is encased in surgical glass and easy to take out. The procedure is done at a piercing studio. NFC/RFID implant technologies are the same as used in metro cards or key cards, and features like Apple pay.
I recently moved to Montreal for PhD research creation and will be working on this from Dec 2021 and at least 2 years forward. Since I am finishing most of my course work now I currently have flexibility regarding the timeplan but need to start planning for the winter as soon as possible.
The scale of the project and its cost is adaptable since I can adapt the levels of interaction and the amount of sensors needed. Because projectors and related tech is available in the space already the materials budget should not be more than 4-7000 CAD, less if I would find sponsorship or additional budget for things like the haptic boards that reacts to the audio and makes the sound waves touchable for people who can not hear the audio or see the visualizations. The boards are expensive but the developer is in my network so I can reach out and see if its possible to borrow a couple.
Artist and engineer fees is the main cost and I am not familiar with the Canadian rates so easiest would be to plan this together. Since this has not been done before I expect that the prototyping phase demands many hours of collaboration with an engineer, as well as testing and debugging with the venue technicians in case of a public event.