I am also really looking forward to this discussion - and in
particular, I am keen to discuss the value implications and the
dualistic perspectives (separating mind and body) that many of the
bio-sensor, health- or sports-monitoring systems enforce. In my view,
many of them make us see our own bodies as objects or machines that
can be trimmed, controlled, kept in balance - separate from ourselves,
our dreams, our experiences of being in the world, in our bodies. I
think this connects to Hannah's idea of relating to something else
than the "objective".
In my own work, we have been trying to use bio-sensors to connect
scraps and bits of our everyday bodily experiences to various social
events in the world and our own accounts of what has been going on. We
have tried to create a systems that do not tell the user what they
have experienced but instead provide materials to reflect on.
An example from my group is the Affective Diary system: http://www.sics.se/interaction/projects/ad/
Another example is the Affective Health system: http://affectivehealth.blogspot.com/
In short, both systems logs users' movements (accelererometers) and
arousal (GSR). Affective Health also logs pulse. These data are then
representated back to users in evocative shapes, forms and animations
that do not *tell* users what they are experiencing, but are open-
ended "surfaces" that they can inscribe meaning into in various ways.
A lot of people really like our systems, but there are also those
(mainly academics who have not used the system) that object to them,
feeling that it is sad that we should have to have technology to
communicate with ourselves. They fear it is a kind of prosthesis and
that it distances ourselves even more from our corporeal experiences.
My question is therefore: is it possible to use bio-sensors and create
for embodied interactions that relate to our whole selves - subject/
object, body/mind, rational/irrational - and what would that mean? And
am I right in claiming that a lot of existing systems convey a
conceptualisation of the world that makes us think of the our own
bodies as objects rather than our lived embodied experiences?
Anyway, this was a very brief introduction of what I find fascinating
in this field. Before writing tons more, I look forward to seeing more
of what others have been thinking of relating to this field.
(currently a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research, normaly
working in the Mobile Life centre at Stockholm University)
On 3 dec 2008, at 19.07, Hannah Drayson wrote:
> Hi all,
> Thanks for the prompt Adinda, I'm really looking forward to seeing
> what this discussion will bear.
> I'll begin by giving a little background and some concerns-
> My experiences with biosignals began about 2 years ago, when I
> joined Transtechnology Research as a Doctoral Researcher.
> Beginning in 2007 I attended an eNTERFACE workshop hosted by
> Bogazici University, Istanbul where I worked as part of a group
> investigating and experimenting with biosignals, sharing knowledge,
> and finally performing with the systems/works we had produced.
> Miguel - also a participant on this discussion was there also.
> About a year ago my department acquired a Nexus-10 clinical
> biofeedback unit which I have been using for signal acquisition for
> real-time sonification and visualization experiments and
> performance. If anyone has any questions about the technical aspects
> of all this I'll happily expand - perhaps off-list.
> However, my major research interest is more generally focused on
> philosophical and theoretical questions regarding technology and
> medicine. My thesis, currently under construction, begins by
> attempting to disentangle technological devices from scientific
> notions to ask how creative uses of technologies might be able to
> provide something other than 'objective' accounts.
> The current situation regarding the availability of these
> technologies is very interesting in terms of creative practice
> because of the current interest in these devices, and the increasing
> availability of cheaper products for signal acquisition, analysis
> and visualization. One issue for me - although not possibly a
> particularly original one - is related more generally to the
> artistic "re-purposing" of technologies (although this happens just
> as much in the sciences) and the question of how these technologies
> might be expanded upon and modified or reinvented by artists.
[log in to unmask]
Professor at Stockholm University
Lab manager at SICS
Leads Mobile Life center: www.mobile-life.org