what a great finding!
an interesting post I found(in Portuguese) which discusses the importance of sound in their mythology.
The base of these devices in development is sound. My quest is now to explore live audio synthesis to create a soundscape that will relate to Candomble complex drumming.
I found these recordings from the 40’s with Candomble songs from the African Bahia.
Here I present the prototypes created during the sessions. Some were designed by me together with participants or in response to aspects they thought technology should enable.
The Tai-Chi Data visualizer
An appropriation from a scanner UV lights. This device should be used while practicing Tai-Chi and from the movements, when performed correctly will generate a relaxing landscape.This idea was proposed by Edmund Nesveda.
Awkwardness of having to learn a lot before the technology can serve your needs, what it was designed for in first place. This design challenges the idea of technological practicalities, where for the device to work the user needs to overcome a lot of technical difficulties most users are not willing to do. Ultimately, feelings of Frustration with the devices emerge.
Small medium size devices you handle, like a tool is also apparent here as surviving future predictions of total virtuality. Artificial lighting in the neon like torch and the heavy mediation of a screen interpreting data to induce different states of consciousness such as meditation is present.
The Digitalized body
A telecommunication device that can involve teletransportation or a new holographic idea of Skype calls. The bowls in the end fit in the head where only one is present and feels the presence of the other. Prototype made by Chilly Rain.
Supernatural presence responding to breathing or some kind of action that clearly demonstrates human vitality? A breathing activated device which would follow strict parameters of human breath classifications. Information transmitted through a physical experience and with other senses. Technology touching the body to transmit information generated by other human body. Diversity in the use of senses and aspects that characterizes us as humans/living beings.
The Helping Hand
Notions of technology performing the act of touching our body. Thinking about the idea of multi- touching as a kind of interaction. De- familiarizing it by swapping places. It would operate with some kind of emotional profile created online and through the fingerprint recognizer, the personal profiles would be loaded and the hand will perform a cuddling action accordingly. Prototype proposed by me.
A response to the discussions that happened to this point in the workshop. Participants expressed opinions that reflected a need for physical contact but also for web- based devices for technology to perform some kind of spiritual connection.
The Digestible frequencies generator station
An audio synthesizer that generates frequencies through the digestible tips to treat any kind of emotional issue, such as anxiety, nervous breakdowns, frustration or to induce other states of consciousness. The digestible tips will exist as a bridge between the technology and the person, when the sound frequency transmission is completed the tip can be swallowed. A challenge to the current approaches of technological interaction, to perceive one that goes beyond touching, seeing, speaking, hearing. It explores ideas of communicating with your mouth or by using body fluids. Aspects of the human body that consist strong characteristics of being a human or non machine. Saliva, secretions, perspiration, all could be interpreted and responded to by technology, by reading levels of acidity, alkalinity, bacteria, etc. Inspired A technology operated by the most human aspects of humans. Normalising human aspects such as drooling or being messy as normal elements of humanity and that could be performed in public. To be manufactured in large scale, like phone charging cabinets in stations. Awkwardness and Biomusic. Prototype made by me.
In the post-it reads “Scans your aura through licking and it encodes it in baby programming language. (senses your feeling/ empathy)”
This prototype was developed after the sonic frequency generator. It explores the same idea of providing alternative to multi- touching through ‘multi- licking’. This device would interpret your licking and respond to it through ‘feeling back’ empathy or other feelings. Its utility was not very clearly finalized and the intention was to push other senses as platforms to control electronic devices, which would interpret this data and turn it into a manageable file. Prototype developed by me and Lalya Gaye.
The sweat activated cuddler
This device continues to challenge multi- touching and its sanitized elements. The black tip is placed under the armpit and when the user sweats the wristband moves in your arm and cuddles you. I am quite sure it cn be given other uses. Prototype created by Rene McBrearty.
More body contact. Anti- sanitised, clean design I imagine this prototype could also be used together with someone else, where the sweat of one can cuddle the other. It interests me to think the ways this device critically reflects on electronic mediation growing dimension, where instead of a real cuddle, a device is used for that. Or the malfunctions of a case of excessive sweat, too much cuddle or inconvenience by, well exacerbating technological convenience. Awkwardness to perform it also present.
The prototyping desk
As part of the organization of the space, the crafts desk was an important part as it was the moment I had to ask questions and encourage participants to share their experiences and opinions about technology, computers, multi- touching, the ways, if there were any, they thought computer interaction relates/ enables spiritual practices, and if so, what they are like. It was the moment after recording their interactions with their phones and with their imaginary technologies. Having this in mind they could develop, question and even completely change the ideas they had before while encapsulating them into a prototype. Not everyone who attended prototyped, but discussions were much more developed while on the desk and after going through all the other sections of the workshop.
Crafts materials were displayed in table with a contact mic connected to a pd- patch triggering different rec ordings of machines(self- check out, metro tones, tills, etc). The idea was to create an environment that suggested strong technological presence.
A sheet of paper and post- it stickers were available for those who did not feel like prototyping for some reason. They wrote their thoughts in brief sentences about how they thought technology would look like. However, during the desk time, I encouraged them to also think about how they would like technology to be and look like. It was the bit I was interested the most. Their ideas about manufactured technology of the future and how they wanted it to look like was in fact quite different, with the cliches of technology predictions completely disappearing from the spectrum. Some of the post- it were written by participants and others by me, were I documented their comments and statements.
The sentences you can read on the stickers are.
‘It will be like a green conductive goo’
‘Not required to touch the screen’
‘Brain/ thought activated’
‘Tailored to the person’
‘Like in the movies: Minority Report and Wall-E’
‘Size thin, really thin like TV and heading towards light, medium sized’
‘Everything will be mobile and embodied’
De- familiarizing current smartphones and multi- touch screen gestures
As part of the workshop, I wanted to access the ways in which people use their phones and other everyday technologies through their gestures and counterpoint with the ways they thought these gestures would look like in the future.
Aggravation of multi- touching, where the screen surface precise location does not seem clear
The idea of a technology whose surface can be everywhere. Touching everywhere, not knowing where to touch. Other forms of touching applied to human bodies, such as tickling and massaging. The idea of a brain controlled device appeared here. Brad also comment about his experience with Suri app and ideas of emotional engagement with computers and its operating systems.
Surrounded by a giant multi- touch screen
A daunting experience of interacting with a gigantic, omnipresent screen. The Big Brother of the multi- touch screens where every aspect stored can be accessed in gigantic physical proportions. It can play with the idea of computers knowing more about us than what we know about them. Physically bigger than us challenges the idea of technology becoming smaller or completely embedded into everything.
Frustration & Physical contact
Counterpointing total virtuality, here physical contact still forms big part of interacting with technology. Frustration with interaction mechanisms which require very precise ways of touching or using for it to work properly. Getting use with having things performed fast gets us demanding even faster performances from the computers which will cause frustration. But they’re still not humans!
Other body parts & entering, wearing the machine
Challenging the limitations of multi- touching. Here devices could be fitted in different parts of the body, opened, stretched, twisted, turned from digital to paper, have a diversity of compartments. Interaction will shift from hands to more parts of the body, external and internally.
Amorphous technologies & intricate handling procedures
No particular shape, here technology opens space to be imagined as pretty much anything and everything one can handle as one wants. Take it apart and make things such as shaking, twisting or looking at it in a certain way in order for it to work.
Technology is a person
Associating computers with human characteristics is what is going on here. A computer will not look like a person, it will BE a person.
A hardcore idea of technology being able to interpret emotions and respond to personal problems as well as enabling every kind of body need.
Constructing a future scenario
In a heavily mediated reality, technology and telecommunication has been catering to support spiritual needs with a range of apps and platforms being designed in recent years. The debate about ways in which humans interact with technology and how technology responds to human emotions has also been issues HCI strives to research and understand in order to develop appropriate systems.
Critically thinking these issues was one of the ideas this project aimed to discuss. For this purpose, a scenario was imagined.
The discovery of spiritual media from the future
I set to imagine that in contemporary times, devices that were heavily used in the future, for individual and collective use in spiritual practices. These devices process and interpret live data to create an immersive meditative soundscape, also generated in response to choreographed movement mapped by sensors which is later translated into sound.
In this future, interaction with machines will be multisensory and actively performed through platforms inserted in the mouth. The concept of “multi- mouthing” a common interactive practice.
Ceremonial hardware leaks from a future from which we are not so distant. In a world only perceived by digital interfaces to the point where even spiritual entities and energies are channelled from the web or made understood with the help of digital omnipresence. African cosmograms survived time and space, after forcefully travelling with enslaved people and being engraved in the most remote places around the globe. These scripts benefit from the web. Interpreted by its descendants and conspired with ancient native knowledge take over the network and master the spirit of technology. The machines of the future have managed to decode these ancient African complex algorithms and Ethnomathematics greatly supports the development of systems of the future.
Screens can lose ground to mouth, ears and nose, with humans reconnecting to the sense of hearing like in the time of the hunter- gatherers and with its mastered technological skills, a new media to enable self-growth and promote spiritual social dynamics will emerge.
The open collaborative session
Bringing together speculation about future practices and media devices.
Attention to the room was given to guide the participant to engage in different stages. When entering the room, the participant reviewed images of African ritual instruments, alongside images of pendrives, cameras and telephones. Images of cosmograms, Candomblé codes and computer circuit diagrams were presented next to each other to encourage a reflection on possible similarities between African diagrams and representation, computer and machine representations.
On a second table, the first prototypes I made were displayed with brief description. Every prototype made by participants was also put together with the others.
The third moment was the crafts desk, which would encourage the participants to prototype while I could learn their ideas about technology and the ways they interact with basic everyday machines, such as smartphones, multi- touch screens, self- checkout, etc. Attached under table, a contact mic connected to a PD patch triggered recordings of self- check out and till shop sounds. I used bleeps and tones as well as automated voices.
Jean Paul Basquiat took inspirations in many of his drawings from the Ancient Vodun systems and diagrams. He made gorgeous demonstrations of African symbols influencing modern Art.
interesting link discussing the subject:
some pictures and images. How can Vodun and Afro- Brazilian( which like all the other comes from Vodun) systems influence contemporary design and inform our interactions with media today.
Spirituality, Science and Mathematics in ancient Africa.