Critical Design that alters the perception of an emotional state through a change in its cause.
This work in progress explores ways to potentially evoke empathy and commiseration, even in times of supersaturated sadness. The project underlines how design can help us to understand societal issues from a critical point of view, in this case, through a ‘design noir’ perspective that alters the perception of an emotional state through a change in its cause. No longer the mind causes the feeling, but a machine.
The prototypes, built of a hacked ice spray dispenser, a motorized contracting rig, and an onion-filled amulet, allowing for the evocation of bodily experiences that are usually connected to emotional reactions bad news. The proposed emotions are chosen to relate to an unpleasant event in the future, present, and past, in the order they would normally occur: coldness, as an experience of fear; constraint, as an experience of panic; and lachrymatory excitation, as an experience of grief. All prototypes are controlled through a nearby Arduino board. The board is connected to a mobile phone through a computer, allowing it to read live data from the internet, which are then represented in an actuation.
The devices demonstrate how low-tech prototyping can help us to explore new ways of interaction. In how much these ways can are not only bodily, but also actually emotionally evocative has to be determined in future studies.
Hertrich, Susanna, Hemmert, Fabian, Gollner, Ulrike, Löwe, Matthias, Wohlauf, Anne, and Joost, Gesche 2010. Synthetic Empathy: Somaesthetic Body Actuation as a Means of Emotional Evocation. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop of Devices that Alter Perception (Seoul, Korea, October 13th, 2010). DAP ’10.
Madeline Schartzman; See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception; Black Dog Publishing; 2011 edition.
Carson Reynolds; Devices that Alter Perception 2010; CreateSpace Publishing; 2011 edition.
Devices that Alter Perception, Seoul/Korea, 2010