Hacking the Body Research

> Hacking the Body & HTB2.0


Hacking the Body and HTB 2.0 was a research and performance collaboration between Dr Kate Sicchio and myself, which evolved from 2011 until 2018 and started by examining rhetoric within the online computing community around concepts of code, hacking, networks, the quantified self, and data, as a new approach to examining inner and outer states and sensations of the human body, using sensing devices within performance.

> Videos

> UCA HTB 2.0 Residency R&D 2015

> Timeline

2011– 2018

> Collaborators

  • Dr Kate Sicchio – collaborator and co-investigator

> Abstract

Hacking the Body and HTB 2.0 was a reserach adn performance collaboration between Dr Kate Sicchio and myself, which evolved from 2011 until 2018 and started by examining rhetoric within the online computing community around concepts of code, hacking, networks, the quantified self, and data, as a new approach to examining inner and outer states and sensations of the human body, using sensing devices within performance.

Hacking the Body used concept of ‘hacking’ to repurpose and reimagine internal signals from the body in two ways:
(1) to explore how internal physiological data can be gathered and harnessed to understand the experiential states of the body, and then
(2) how we as artists will ‘hack’ to explore new methods for creating artworks, using sensing systems and audiovisual technology.
Through this exploration we became critical of concepts of ‘code versus body knowledge’ and expanding our work to develop new parameters of revealing this hidden body as part of the greater social, political and technological networks. As such, body data can be hacked, repurposed and re-visualised. With a theoretical focus on understanding the ethos and methods of the hacking community, while seeking project funding we educated ourselves in the hands-on practical making processes of DIY electronics, soft circuits, and smart materials.

During our research we observed how self-monitoring and quantified-self activities have led to new forms of narcissism and encourage corporate and government spying and exploitation. The focus for us, however, then became about interpreting inner states and processes in order to be seen or interpreted as one’s personal identity, which may (or may not influence) one’s movement and interaction with others.

Hacking the Body 2.0 was thus born to follow on from a need to explore and critique how wearable technology extends our senses but also how personal data identity and privacy issues can be revealed and understood through layers of ‘known-ness’. The project became concerned with identity and data ownership in performance. As such, HTB2.0 has used modern DIY wearable electronics and smart materials alongside hacked corporate fitness tech, to explore these issues within the wearable technology, smart textiles and smart fashion industries, while adding a new dimension to performance technology and its evolution.

> Partners

  • Arts Council England
  • UCA / University for the Creative Arts

> Budget / Funding

> Outcomes / Impact

There were many papers and presentations from this research over the 7 years – see the publications section on the writing on the project. Below are presentations and activities for the Hacking the Body research before the performances documented elsewhere:

May 16-22, 2016 ISEA: International Symposium for Electronic Arts 2016 Hong Kong, presenting an artist talk on performance development and wearable costume design Flutter /Stutter and Feel Me performances (with video and demo) and a paper presentation on Hacking the Body research and performance development. ISEA 2016 conference website http://isea2016.isea-international.org and conference catalogue http://wikisites.cityu.edu.hk/sites/scm/Shared%20Documents/OtherDoc/isea2016_catalogue/isea2016_catalogue.pdf

July 29th–31st, 2013 The Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA) 2013, London, UK. Presented a paper ‘Open-source, custom interfaces and devices with live coding in participatory performance’ and ‘Hacking the Body’ paper with Kate Sicchio.

July 17th, 2013 Maker’s Guild on Wearables, Centre for Creativity and Collaboration, London. Presented the ‘Hacking the Body’ project in collaboration with Kate Sicchio.
July 6, 2013, Elephant and Castle Mini-Maker Faire, London, UK, co-produced by between London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London and the Victoria and Albert Museum Digital Programs. Presenting and showing work from the collaborative performance media research project “Hacking the Body”, the collaborative project with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio.

June 17-21, 2013, ACM Creativity and Cognition, June 17-21, 2013, Sydney, Australia – conducted an all-day workshop with research collaborator Kate Sicchio, teaching the basics using soft circuits and wearable technology, as well as the basics of programming in open-source software Arduino for electronics development.

June 14-16, 2013, TekStar Art and Technology Festival, Byron Bay, Australia – conducted an all-day workshop with research collaborator Kate Sicchio, teaching the basics using soft circuits and wearable technology for performance creation;
June 8th-16th, 2013, (ISEA) International Symposium of Electronic Art 2013, Sydney Australia – conducted an all-day workshop with research collaborator Kate Sicchio, teaching the basics using soft circuits and wearable technology for a variety of applications.

May 10, 2013, Mediamorphosis Symposium, at the University of Brighton, presented by The REFRAME Digital Platform for Research in Media, Film and Music research group (http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/) and the Creative Critical Practice Research Group at the University of Sussex – presented a paper on “Hacking the Body”, the collaborative project with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio, presentation here https://www.slideshare.net/secret/zzvY5BTXiPuwdz

April 10, 2013, Becoming Nomad: Hybrid Spaces, Liquid Architectures and Online Domains, University of York St John, York, UK – presented a paper on “Hacking the Body”, the collaborative project with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio, on behalf of both of us.

March 3rd, 2013, Exhibiting Performance Conference, University of Westminster – presented a paper on the collaborative project with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio, “Hacking the Body” (working with electronics, biofeedback sensors, mobile phones and Kinect) on behalf of both of us.

Nov 27, 2012 Digital Workshop at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London UK. Demonstration of project “Hacking the Body”.

September 7th-8th, 2012, LIVE INTERFACES in Performance, Art, Music ICSRiM School of Music, University of Leeds – presented a poster with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio, on the collaborative project “Hacking the Body” – presentation available on request.

May 19, 2012 Handmade Everything Maker Faire as part of the FutureEverything Festival, Victoria Baths, Manchester, UK. Demonstration of project “Hacking the Body” – images available.

FET Art / ICT & Art Connect

> FET-Art EU FP7 Co-Creation

Connecting ICT and Art communities: new research avenues, challenges, and expected impact (ICT&Art Connect)

We need to study what problems art and ICT can solve together… Does there first have to be a convergence process between art, ICT, brain science, and psychology, whereby each discipline better understands the process and language of the other? …Do we need to understand better the intradisciplinary benefits of art and ICT collaborations, before going onto understand the inter- and transdisciplinary ones? …The element of the aesthetic in the ICT innovation process may also need more study. (Foden, 2012)

> Videos

> Gallery Name

> Timeline

June 2013 – May 2014

> Collaborators

  • SIGMA ORIONIS SA – Coordinator & Project Management
  • BRUNEL UNIVERSITY – Creative Vision, Matchmaking & Event Organisation
  • WAAG SOCIETY – Collaboration Facilitation & Monitoring
  • STROMATOLITE – Hackathon & Event Organisation
  • BLACK CUBE COLLECTIVE – Matchmaking & Event Organisation

> Abstract

The EU funded project called FET-Art, stems from the first “ICT & ART Connect” event, which took place in Brussels in April 2012 under the aegis of DG CONNECT, European Commission, and co-organised by the Future and Emerging Technologies Unit, Brunel University and University College London issued a series of recommendations, including the following ones:

We need to study what problems art and ICT can solve together… Does there first have to be a convergence process between art, ICT, brain science, and psychology, whereby each discipline better understands the process and language of the other? …Do we need to understand better the intradisciplinary benefits of art and ICT collaborations, before going onto understand the inter- and transdisciplinary ones? …The element of the aesthetic in the ICT innovation process may also need more study. (Foden, 2012)

The reported outcomes of the workshop and recommendations for future directions that the EU should take on in Art and ICT (information communications technology) co-creation, included:

  • A plea to the EU and Europe to think harder about art and ICT as complementary ways of thinking; whereby both computational and creative thinking include making models and metaphors of the world/experience that involve choosing between a range of narrative options.
  • To recognise that Art is generally accepted as a good vehicle for public engagement with an understanding of science and technology, and that Art often provides a holistic view of the social conflicts of science’s embodiment in technology. Art helps to convert knowledge into meaning.
  • To understand that Artists don’t like environments in which they are an afterthought, getting a pat on the back for making technology or science look pretty; and technologists don’t appreciate being brought into creative projects just as technicians. So we must think about how the revelation processes of Art making can be integrated into scientific/policy methodologies; and what the right conditions are for true co-innovation.
  • Together, Art & ICT can help the wider public to engage in the ethical issues around policy; and through ICT-enabled communication channels, involving participatory democracy around different artistic interpretations of choice, the public can participate and affect decision-making. But first collective tools for community management, sustainable management and broad exposure across Art & ICT need to be established. (Foden, 2012) Other policy recommendations were:
    • Explore other forms of engagement between art and ICT other than for dissemination purposes only;
    • Establish areas of research in ICT where stronger involvement of artists could be synergetic. Three candidates: Creativity, Social innovation, Global Systems science.
    • Develop a rationale and operational steps to include artists more prominently in these areas.
    • Plan an annual series of workshops in the spirit of ICT & ART CONNECT;
    • Consider an organisational structure to facilitate interaction of artists within ICT projects (‘in- project artists’);
    • Explore other forms of CONNECT engagement with art than for dissemination purposes only (for instance co-creation, public engagement with ICT)(Foden, 2012).

This event clearly confirmed that a great potential for the EU to be more involved in fostering more of an on-going dialogue between technology and art practitioners, and that it is important to efficiently support such dialogue now, in light big changes in the way the EU funds research project and the newly implemented Horizon 2020 mandate for funding, in order to contribute to the emergence of novel future emerging technologies research topics being developed by the European Commission, and its identification of new emerging research areas.

The aims inspired from the April 2012 event included:

  1. Move technology and art intersection/ interaction from the broad frame of Digital Humanities, or the domain of Creative Industries and SME’s, toward more specific and direct impact beyond business;
  2. Encourage technology/ICT specialists to work with artists, on an equal basis, on EU and other funded project initiatives – to show the ICT community the value artists will bring to their activities;
  3. Help organisations and companies to consider new organisational structures that facilitate interaction of artists with ICT projects (‘in- project artists’) and to develop operational schemes to include artists in funded projects

Thus, as a follow-on project to this event, a one-year project that started in June 2013, was intended as a catalyst project devoted to connecting European technology and artistic communities, and fostering productive dialogues, engagement, and collaborative work between them to demonstrate the synergies collaborative work between them, in order to identify new research avenues, associated challenges, and the potential impact of ICT and Art collaboration on science, technology, art, education and society in general, and how each can contribute to a new Europe.

Within this context, a FET-ART balanced partnership of committed organisations was formed, offering renowned expertise in the ICT and Art domains, important connections with ICT and Art practitioners in Europe and worldwide, many references at the ICT and Art intersection, and longstanding experience of planned activities.

One of the main aims of the FET-Art project, later branded as ICT & Art Connect, was to both seek and document consultation with experts and with the arts and ICT technology practitioners themselves on the issues and process of collaboration. The goal of the consultation was to highlight a much under discussed topic of collaboration experiences that artists and technology professionals have had (good and bad), either with others within their profession or across disciplines, and to glean recommendations for future collaboration process approaches.

Then events to bring artists and technologists together to collaborate were hosted by each partner. Each event was organised differently, and some included Hackathons or fast project prototyping, to ignite partnerships, while others focused on showing current successful art/tech projects, while discussing the issues and problems of art/tech collaboration more deeply. An active effort was made to find outside, objective experts from other European and international institutions and organisations with experts who have witnessed, researched and/or otherwise facilitated and nurtured numerous art and technology collaborations.

The Life Project

> The Life Project

Robots and Emotion


Robots, Avatars, Open Source, Twitter, QR Code, Emergence, Virtual Lifeform, Craft, Design, Workshop.

> Gallery

> Timeline

Started April 2011, Public Exhibition, October 2011, Presented at the EVA Conference 2012

> Collaborators

  • Evan Raskob – Team Leader, Techical & Creative
  • Camille Baker – Artist & Creative Concepts
  • Nick Rothwell – Coder & Artist
  • Fiona French – Artist & Coder
  • with Andrew Crowe, Giorgio Demarco, Steven Fortune, Gustavo Guerrero, Lori Ho, Simon Katan, Chris Lowell, Manuel Mazzotti, David McLellan, Francesca Perona, Darren Perry, Elvia Vasconcelos and support from SPACE Studios

> Abstract

The Life Project explored issues of psychological projection into technology by diving into the convoluted relationship between practical purpose and emotional attachment, through both the creative act of designing and making robot entities with artificial emotions, and the social act of engaging with them. This process explores the concept of body representation through a multi- identity in virtual and physical blended space. In a lesser sense, it also suggests a future world of collaboration between physical and virtual forms, enabled by new forms of representation in blended worlds.

> Outcomes / Impact

The Life Project was originally conceived by Openlab Workshops as a collaborative workshop series for a diverse group of artists, designers, makers and musicians, developed as part of the Permacultures exhibitions at SP ACE Studios (SPACE 2012). The aim of the workshops was to explore the boundary between the virtual and the real by examining our complex, mutually dependent relationship with technology. This aim was to be achieved by designing and building an “ecosystem” of small digital Creatures (or robots) that would mutually interact and influence each other, and also interact with human participants who could choose to feed them and/or alter their environmental parameters in meaningful ways.

Inspiration was taken from a variety of sources including generative systems such as Conway’s Game of Life as an investigation of emergent behaviour, ecological and environmental concerns, digital pet toys such as Tamagotchi, video games and AI, as well as current research into modeling emotional intelligence systems.

The Life Project has successfully met its original aim of exploring embodiment and identity through the collaborative process of creating an “ecosystem” of little machines that live, grow, communicate and die with one another, all in the presence of humanity.

The major challenges can be summarised as follows:

(i.)  Creative Collaboration: Facilitating a large, diverse group of creative people to work and collaborate effectively together is a daunting task, since The Life Project provided a rare opportunity for designers, crafters, artists, programmers and engineers to develop ideas together on a shared brief, problem-solving and negotiating milestones from concept to finished artefact.

(ii.)  Developing an Emotional Intelligence – The Life Project explored how software and hardware could be used to represent and communicate changing emotional states. Experiments used software probability tables, animated lights, sounds, and tweets – a wide range of outputs, each with their own complexity.

(iii.)Communication and Interaction – The Life Project investigated modes of communication between software and hardware agents and people. Using Infra- red LEDs (light emitting diodes) as transmitter/receiver between Creatures and Environment; using Twitter to respond to people via Social Networks; using QR Codes to enable creature husbandry from the public – again with their unique requirements to interconnect with the rest, adding another layer of complexity (and chaos).(iv.)  Look and feel – The Life Project provided an opportunity for community involvement in the later stages of project, which required some of the complexity to be made more readily understandable and accessible for simple engagement and interactivity.

(v.)  FLOSS Integration – The FLOSS community and technology was essential to this project. Without the Arduino community, and their companion JeeNodes, the team would have had to purchase expensive proprietary systems or spend much more time developing core technology. The team reciprocated by distributing all code, diagrams, and blogging about the development process.

The team intended to maintain the project as a communal art installation, organising future workshops and inviting members of the public to contribute their own creative designs to and interact with a slice of digital ecology (but this didn’t happen). The aim was to provide future teams the opportunity to study the interaction and the effectiveness of the concepts and intended user interaction, in order to draw conclusions about our complex and interdependent relationship with technology and the “natural” world.

MINDtouch PhD Project

> MINDtouch

Ephemeral Transference: ‘Liveness’ in Networked Performance with Mobile Devices’

If you could exchange your sleeping dream imagery, feelings and sensations, with your friends and loved ones, what would it be like? If you could not only share and exchange, but remix and collage them, what would it look like?

> Videos

> Gallery Name

> Timeline

October 2006–August 2011

> Collaborators

  • Tara Baoth Mooney and Rachel Lasebikan – Garment Designers
  • Michael Markert – Arduino, electronics, DIY physiological sensor programming and mobile app developer
  • Manjit Bedi – Quartz Composer designer for sensor to video database mixing & visualisations
  • Evan Raskob – OSc, database, XML and network developer
  • Huw Williams (SMARTlab & BBC R&D) – Networking and Quartz Composer developer
  • Dr Marc Price – BBC R&D Engineer and PhD Sponsor

> Abstract

The practice-based PhD research investigated the four key qualities of ‘liveness’, ‘feltness’, ‘embodiment’ and ‘presence’ in mobile media performance, in order to shed light on the use qualities and sensations that emerge when mobile technologies are used in tandem with wearable devices in performance contexts.

The research explored mobile media as a non-verbal and visual communication tool that functions by repurposing the mobile phone device and its connection to a wireless network, not only for communication, but explicitly for the expression of ‘emotion’ in the form of a video mix, representing an interpersonal connection shared over distance.

The research aimed to identify and supplement existing scholarly discourse on the nature of these four key strands of kinaesthetic philosophy made ‘live’ in the online network, applying knowledge gained through the practice of enhancing participant experience of the use of simple ubiquitous mobile tools with bespoke biofeedback sensors and an online repository for the playback of users’ visual expressions. This enhanced toolkit enables participants to share personal relationships and social interactions in an immediate way, with collaborators at a distance.

The selected methodology of active research using kinaesthetic tools in live performance sought to identify and clarify new ways of simulating or emulating a non-verbal, visual exchange within a social participatory context, with particular attention paid to a sense of ‘feltness’ as an element of ‘presence’ or ‘liveness’, and with attention to the experience of a sense of ‘co-presence’ arising in real-time collaborative mobile performances at a distance.

To best explore these concepts, as well as the bodily sensations involved for participants, the research analysed original data gleaned from a larger R&D project (conducted in tandem with the PhD project, sponsored by the BBC) as its major case study. The project, called MINDtouch, created a series of unique practice-based new media performance events played out in real-time networked contexts. The MINDtouch events were framed as a means for participants to simulate dream exchange or telepathic thought transfer using mobile phones and biofeedback devices, linked to a bespoke video file protocol for archiving and sharing visual results. The corporeal, non-verbal forms of communication and visual interaction observed when participants use such devices within participatory performance events was examined by way of demonstrating the impact of specific live encounters and experiences of users in this emerging playing field between real-time and asynchronous, live and technologised forms expressing liveness/presence/distance.

The research benefited from access to the larger MINDtouch project and its original data, providing this research with a set of process-based evidence files both in video and transcript form (contained in the thesis appendices). By analysing this unique data set and applying the theoretical contexts of kinaesthetic philosophies where appropriate, the thesis demonstrates both the practical and the critical/contextual effectiveness of the media facilitation process for the participants, and shares their senses of ‘liveness’ and ‘presence’ (of themselves and of others) when using technology to externalise visual expressions of internalised experiences.

MINDtouch made an original contribution to scholarship in the fields of Performance and New Media, with additional contributions to the cognate fields of Philosophy and Technology, and locates its arguments at the locus of the fields of Performance Art, Mobile Performance/Locative Media, Philosophies of the Body and Communications. The research used methods, practices and tools from Phenomenology, Ethnography, Practice-As-Research, and Experience Design, bringing together the relevant aspects of these diverging areas of new media research and media art/performance practices. The research demonstrated that there was a need for new technological tools to express viscerally felt emotion and to communicate more directly. It was hoped that this study would be of use to future scholars in the arts and technology, and also that it might help to demonstrate a way of communicating rich emotion through felt and embodied interactions shared with others across vast distances (thus supporting political movements aimed at reducing global travel in the age of global warming).

> Partners

  • BBC R&D PhD
  • SMARTlab Digital Media Institute

> Budget / Funding

  • £60,000 through BBC R&D PhD Sponsorship

> Outcomes / Impact

Several publications, notably:

Chapter 6 – Baker, C. C. (Aug 16, 2018) New Directions in Mobile Media and Performance – Monograph on mobile phones in performance as tool, content, guide and collaborator in immersive theatre, live art, dance, music and more. Oxford, New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis. https://www.routledge.com/New-Directions-in-Mobile-Media-and-Performance/Baker/p/book/9781472467188

Baker, C. C. (December 2010) “MINDtouch – Ephemeral Transference: Liveness’ in Networked Performance with Mobile Devices”, PhD Thesis, published in University of East London Library in print with DVD support materials and the British Library in digital form. Ethos repository, British Library: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?did=3&uin=uk.bl.ethos.550414 Ethos ID uk.bl.ethos.550414 

Baker, C. (April 2011) “methodologies for mobile media performance”, IN Acoustic Space # 9: Art As Research, Rasa Šmite (ed), (MPLab) Art Research Lab Liepaja University (Liepaja, Latvia) in collaboration with RIXC, The Centre for New Media Culture, RIXC, Riga, Latvia, Volume 9, pgs 131-144. Available online at: http://mplab.lv/index.php?lapa=mediateka&apakslapa=1

Baker, C. C. (March 2011) ‘“MINDtouch” – embodied ephemeral transference: Mobile media performance research’: IN International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Volume 7 (1), Bristol, UK: Intellect Press, pgs 99–118. Now with Taylor & Francis. Available online at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1386/padm.7.1.97_1

Baker, C., Schleser, M and Molga, K. (July 2009) “Aesthetics of Mobile Media Art”, IN International Journal of Media Practice, Volume 10 (2), Bristol, UK: Intellect Press., pgs 101–122. Now with Taylor &Francis. Available online at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1386/jmpr.10.2-3.101_1

Baker, C (Dec 2008) “Liveness’ and ‘Presence’ in Bio-Networked Mobile Performance Practices: Emerging Perspectives”: IN The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Volume 4 (2), Bristol, UK: Intellect Press, pgs 117-136. Now with Taylor & Francis. Available online at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1386/padm.4.2_3.117_1

Baker, C. (Sept 2007) “Biosensors, Liveness and Networked Performance with Mobile Devices: Emerging Perspectives”, Conference Proceedings, International Digital Arts and Culture Conference: perthDAC 2007, Perth Australia.

Several exhibitions and presentations

Sept 14-22, 2011 ‘MINDtouch: Mobile Video Creativity’, workshop, Conference Proceedings, International Symposium of Electronic Arts (ISEA), Sabanci Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey. http://isea2011.sabanciuniv.edu/

April 29, 2011 Low Lives 3 online performance event Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Online event info here http://lowlives.net/home/artists-low-lives-3/ and video here https://youtu.be/9Vw9Y4b4PcI and catalogue http://issuu.com/lowlives/docs/ll3_web/25?e=0

April 22-26, 2011 Digital Stages Performance Festival 2011, London, workshop on MINDtouch with mobile video collections activities.

Sept 5-8th, 2010 Digital Resources for the Humanities and the Arts 2010 Conference, Brunel University, London, Performance of and presentation paper on completion of my PhD research, MINDtouch: embodied ephemeral transference.

June 15-20, 2010 TEXTURES, SLSAe 6th Annual Conference, Riga, Latvia, Presentation paper on Art as Research, and on a panel on Material Interfaces (wearable technologies).

August 25-31, 2009 ISEA, International Symposium of Electronic Arts 2009, University of Ulster, Belfast, UK. Speaker and Panelist: on my PhD research and Wearable Technology.

November 16, 2008 MobileFest, MINDtouch BBC Project: Ephemeral Transference Performance, MIS (Museum of Image and Sound), Sao Paulo, Brazil.

> Further Information

Internal Networks Dreampod

> Internal Networks

Telepathy Meets Technology in the Dream Pod

“…the body exists in space and time and that, through its interaction with the environment, its defines the parameters within which the cogitating mind can arrive at ‘certainties’, which not coincidentally almost never include the fundamental homologies generating the boundaries of thought…. for conscious thought becomes an epiphenomenon corresponding to the phenomenal base the body provides … embodiment creates context by forging connections between instantiated action and environmental conditions … emphaz[ing] the importance of context to human cognition” (“How We Became Post-Human”, Katherine Hayles , pg 203).

> Videos

Introduction to the project 2003

Dream pod construction 2003

> Gallery Name

> Timeline

September 2001 – April 2004

> Collaborators

  • Martin Larsen – Pod Construction

> Abstract

My Masters of Applied Science, Interactive Arts research project was a combined interactive art installation and experience design experiment, which explored methods of creating rich sensorial and consciousnesses experiences digitally. I investigated the cognitive strategies of augmentation and transformation with an emphasis on quantum physics and embodiment. I was dealing with the speculative concept of initiating a mind/body to computer meld or communication interaction, consciousness interface. I was pushing at the boundaries of scientific thought regarding human versus computer capabilities and the potential for these capabilities to work in tandem, attempting to take the revelations (of the time) in physics, psychology and neuroscience, and couple them with concepts in human computer interaction (HCI) and developments in wireless communication technologies, using interactive installation techniques, to envision experimental means of connecting humans to technology through sleep telepathy. The aim was to experiment and alter the way we communicate and interact with technology within the Dream Pod.

The interactive experience design project comprises of two elements: The first creates full body experience of altered consciousness. The second takes interactors into the womb-like space to experience audio, visual, tactile and perhaps olfactory stimulation (and lack thereof) within the space. These combine to create an experience, where the interactor engages through his/her own reactions to the sensor-audio-visual-smell stimulation and their responses are recorded.

Research Questions

Since humans can telepathically communicate or connect through natural “wireless” communication already, all we need do is encourage and train others to take advantage of this possibilities, but first we need convice the scientific community and public that this a viable way to go, and answer the following questions:
a) can technology (i.e. sensors, and responsive environments) facilitate that natural affinity?
b) can humans eventually communicate telepathically and interact with computers and technology

Sensory Stimulation / Deprivation
The theory I based my ideas upon were concepts around sensory deprivation, but also from therapists interviewed and research into various forms of meditation, visualisation and guided imagery techniques uncovered during the research. I discovered that some stimulation put the mind into relaxation, through a guided approach using dream-like imagery and experiential design. However, too much stimulation over stimulate and prevent the participant from going into the desired altered state of consciousness experience of hypnogogia or pre-post-sleep state.

Mind/Body Quieting Techniques & Research
I was incorporating techniques to induce altered states of consciousness, inner-awareness, and the physical manifestations of these, in order to prepare participants for external “wireless” communication, and to create a “meditative portal” or “non-local telephone” for “connection” for each to enter and find each other telepathically and eventually through technology.

The experimental immersive environmental design for this “portal” or “non-local phone” was to include a comfortable environment and to include a pre-experience physical preparation before individuals entered the Dream Pod environment, using light yoga, breathing and guided relaxation techniques to stimulate physical sensations of weightlessness, hyper-awareness, and openness.

In order to get a better idea of the best ways to help participants to be open up to this experience and to access this “connection” or “portal” to the telepathic dimension, I conducted mind-quieting approaches from various practices locally and from other cultures around the world.

I began by experimenting with altered states and mind quieting practices on myself, and available locally such as: Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness Meditation, Visualisation techniques, Shamanic Dance, Holotropic Breathing, lucid dreaming exploration, and Sweat Lodge techniques. I borrowed from these to develop my own techniques for the project experiences I created for the Dream Pod.


> Partners

  • Simon Fraser University, Surrey, Canada

> Budget / Funding

2001 Minerva Foundation Award for Women in Graduate Studies for the 2001-2002 school year ($1000 CDN BC Canada)

2002 TechBC Award for Academic Excellence, based upon the academic year 2001-2002 ($2000 CDN BC Canada)

2002 TechBC Award for University Service Scholarship, based upon the academic year 2001- 2002 ($1000 CDN BC Canada)

> Outcomes / Impact

Papers, conference and exhibitions:

Baker, C. (Nov 2004) “Telepathy Through Biosensor Media Stimulation”, published in Consciousness Reframed 2004: Qi and Complexity Conference Proceedings, Planetary Collegium, Beijing, China. Available for download from: http://chni.ca/cami/Qi&Complexity_CamilleBaker.doc

Baker, C. (Oct 2005) “Transcendence through the Artifice of Spectacle: Martin Beauregard’s ‘Fireworks’”, art review published in new brunt magazine, by the grunt gallery, Vancouver. Available for download from: http://www.eciad.bc.ca/~camib/MartinBeauregard.doc

Baker, C. (Sept 2004) “Biosensor and Media Art Induced Meditation and Telepathy”, LEA Special Issue: From the Extraordinary to the Uncanny: The Persistence of a Parallel Universe, Guest Editor: Michael Punt, published in The Leonardo Electronic Almanac, MITPress – e-journals – LEONARDO http://leoalmanac.org/journal/Vol_12/. Available for download from: http://leoalmanac.org/journal/Vol_12/LEAWrdIndex2004.pdf or http://leoalmanac.org/journal/Vol_12/lea_v12_n11.txt

Baker, C. (July 2005) “’Discovering Telepathy Through Altered States’, The Altered States: transformations of perception, place, and performance”, published in Conference Proceedings, Planetary Collegium, Plymouth, UK. Available for download from: http://chni.ca/cami/Altered_CBaker.pdf

Baker, C. (March 24, 2004) – “Internal Networks: Telepathy Meets Technology in the Dream Pod”, SFU SIAT -Thesis Defense, Simon Fraser University, Surrey Campus, Burnaby, BC, Canada.

Baker, C. (May 2003) “Internal Networks : Telepathy Revisited”, Digital Arts Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

  • Caladan Gallery Exhibition (now closed permanently) in 200