[ISEA2019] Artists Statement: Jiabao Li & Honghao Deng – TransVision: Exploring the State of the Visual Field in the Age of Extreme Augmentation

Artists Statement

electronics, lens, mirror, resin, silicon, dimensions variable.

Human perception has long been influenced by technological breakthroughs. An intimate mediation of technology lies in between our direct perceptions and the environment we perceive. Through three extreme ideal types of perceptual machines, this project defamiliarizes and questions the habitual ways in which we interpret, operate, and understand the visual world intervened by digital media.
1. Hyper-allergenic Vision Syndrome
The modern society has observed an increase in allergies and intolerances. Hypersensitivities are emerging not only medically but also mentally. Technology has this mutual reinforcement effect that people tend to become less tolerant because they interact even less with people who have different backgrounds and opinions. Digital media as mediator reinforce people’s tendency of overreacting through the viral spread of information and amplification of opinions, making us hypersensitive to our social-political environment. Similar to patterns of intolerance to signals that we see with our immune system, we also see with our mental responses to our environment. By creating an artificial allergy to redness, this machine manifests the nonsensical hypersensitivity devised by digital media.
2. Tactile Vision
Vision works well when we have an overview of the total system, but the way we search in digital media is through little steps, from link to link — a tactile experience as we feel the landscape. We can never see it as a whole because it’s not a continuous space. Instead, we look through a pinhole and build up everything without an overview. This wearable is the extreme version of us possessing only one sense for one thing. Depriving all other sensory experiences and leaving only one signal channel, this hyper-narrow, focused, and filtered vision is an analog version of the searching behavior on the Internet.
3. Commoditized Vision
The commodification of the visual field requires observers that can rapidly consume visual information. The downside is the extreme overloading of information that has to be packed into the visual field in order to make the most out of every second. The meditative relationship to what we are staring at is no longer possible because everything has an overlay of commercial information trying to extract value from us. The visual field becomes a commodity that has real estate value. By creating the tension between meditative state and consumptive state, this machine contemplates on how augmenting the visual field with new technologies affects our relationship to the world in this particular social-economic context.

  • Jiabao Li works at the intersection of emerging technology, art and design. Her work opens questions about technology’s influence on human perception, identity, and emotion. Her research-based projects range from wearables, projections, drones, installations to scientific experiments. She holds a Master of Design in Technology degree with Distinction from Harvard GSD, USA. Jiabao’s work has been featured in Domus, TechCrunch, Yahoo, CCTV, Yanko Design. Her work has been shown in Milan and Dubai Design Week, ISEA, CHI, SIGGRAPH, and PRIMER. She is the winner of the Fast Company Award, iF Design Award, Future Cities Award, and ISWC Design Award.
  • Honghao Deng is a computational designer. He holds a Master of Design in Technology with Distinction at Harvard GSD, USA and was a researcher at City Science Group, MIT Media Lab. Recognition gained in the design and interaction community includes Golden A’ Design Award, iF Design Award, Future Cities Award. His work has been covered by Domus, CCTV, ArchDaily, Arab News, the National and Metropolis Magazine.