Forcing Human Connections Through Technology?

Madi Hislop

1b. Human technology relationships: Analyse one or a number of examples that looks at how new technology influences how we love/express love/pursue love?

I think it was easy to look at this second blog post and think immediately of social media and how this has had an incomparable effect on how every single one of us relates to those around us.

Human relationship and connections are what is meant to hold us together, keep us sane and feel safe, yet as we all know this is not always the case when technology becomes involved. The more connected we become via technology, the less we appear to be connected in real life.

This problem stimulated the creating of Consciousness Hacking. A design philosophy which insist we need to create technologies that not only improve productivity and solve business problems, but also allow for the flourishing of our wellbeing (Mossbridge, J. 2016)

The group was founded in 2013 by Mike Siegel and has since grown on a global scale. Although it does have a far more left of field approach to any mainstream technology companies it does reflect the move in Silicon Valley companies from research and development of performance enhancement to wellbeing. Products that monitor our health and lifestyle patterns all reflect the Consciousness Hacking ideals. (Catterton, C. & Gwyn, G. 2016)

Looking into the future, what will this mean for the way we relate to technology, or rather, how technology will relate to us? Mike Siegel suggests these technologies will be about shaping our state mind, our idea of reality and ourselves, and thus how we convey ourselves to others. (Siegel M. 2014)

A project that has explored this idea is the Mutual Wave Machine, a performative art piece developed at the Marina Abramovic institute by Susan Dikker, Matthias Oostrik, Peter Burr, Diederik Schoorl and Matthew Patterson Curry. The Installation uses interactive neurofeedback to play on the idea of being ‘on the same wavelength’ as someone else. (Dikker, S. Oristaglio, S. 2016) The artwork utilizes the users brain activity, to either help or hinder the connection between the two people involved.

mutual-wave-machine

Two people enter the space and are forced to try and connect with one another. This is something that we do every day but never do we focus on it singularity. As the connection between the pair increases so does the feedback they receive, the machine lights up and creates sound, the more connected the two are, the coherent and recognizable these become. Inversely, if there is a lack of connection they are left in complete darkness, a faint ringing in their ears the only point of reference they have. (Out of the Lab 2016)

I think this artwork has a lot to say about the ability for technology to act as a guiding tool for human interaction. It acts almost as meditation might, training the brain and giving the individual a greater understanding of their own internal process however it goes beyond this, and forces us to consider how we subsequently relate to others. Although this is a performance art piece I can very much see it acting as the inspiration for mindfulness products in the future. Shaping the way we think about human connection sand thus inspiring designers to respond to this.

 

 

References:

Mossbridge, J. 2016, Transcendence Technology, Consciousness Hacking, viewed 25/10/16, http://www.cohack.life/posts/what-is-transcendence-technology/

 

Catterton, C. & Gwyn, G. 2016, Consciousness Hacking 101, Consciousness Hacking, viewed 25/10/16, http://www.cohack.life/posts/consciousness-hacking-101/

 

Siegel M. 2014, TEDxTalks: Enlightenment Engineering, video recording, Youtube, viewed 25/10/16 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG_chQK9iGc

 

Dikker, S. Oristaglio, S. 2016, Mutual Wave: An Interactive Neurofeedback Installation, New York, viewed 25/10/16, http://www.mai-hudson.org/content/mutual-wave-machine

 

Out of the Lab, 2016, Short Film, MAI, viewed 25/10/16, http://www.mai-hudson.org/content/2014/6/9/out-of-the-lab

 

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