[ISEA2011] Panel: Laura Beloff – Unexpected Affairs: Wearable Technology, Human and The Arts

Panel Statement

Panel: Borders and interfaces: the challenges of the wearable computer’s design in the near future

In­stead of con­sid­er­ing wear­able tech­nol­ogy de­vices as pros­thetic tools that aim to aid and en­hance the human body, the au­thor takes a view­point that re­al­ity is part wise a con­struct of the tech­no­log­i­cal de­vices, and this con­struc­tion is ex­pe­ri­enced not only through them but also by them. Com­pos­ite in­ten­tion­al­ity is pro­posed by P.-P. Ver­beek as the in­ten­tion­al­ity of tech­nol­ogy com­bined with in­ten­tion­al­ity of a human using the tech­no­log­i­cal ar­ti­fact. In this con­stel­la­tion tech­nol­ogy is “ex­pe­ri­enc­ing” the world au­tonomously and con­struct­ing its own re­al­ity. For ex­am­ple, the way a wear­able de­vice is sens­ing or “see­ing” as­pects of the world and pro­duc­ing vi­sual signs of it, which would not oth­er­wise be per­cep­ti­ble to the human. There is an in­ten­tion­al­ity of tech­nol­ogy to­ward “its” world and an­other in­ten­tion­al­ity of human be­ings to­ward the re­sult of the tech­no­log­i­cal in­ten­tion­al­ity.(Ver­beek, 2008) This kind of in­ten­tion­al­ity re­veals a re­al­ity that can only be sensed by tech­nol­ogy, but which is then made ac­ces­si­ble by the tech­nol­ogy for human in­ten­tion­al­ity. Tech­nol­ogy has here a dou­ble role; it is ob­vi­ously ma­te­r­ial part of the phys­i­cal world, but si­mul­ta­ne­ously it is a me­di­a­tor of its own con­structed (tech­no­log­i­cal) re­al­ity, which in this way be­comes also as a part of the (human) user’s re­al­ity and en­vi­ron­ment. In this kind of sit­u­a­tion tech­nol­ogy can no longer be thought merely as a tool, but it is a part of a user’s “hy­brid re­al­ity” that still has its base on phys­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence of the world. Ex­am­ples of this kind of in­ten­tion­al­ity are found for ex­am­ple in the arts where in some pro­jects the in­ten­tion­al­ity of tech­nol­ogy is taken as rel­e­vant as­pect in it­self. The paper pre­sents both con­tem­po­rary wear­able tech­nol­ogy pro­jects and rel­a­tive his­tor­i­cal works.

  • Laura Beloff’s artis­tic works, with ac­claimed in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion as an artist, can be de­scribed as pe­cu­liar wear­able ob­jects, pro­grammed struc­tures and par­tic­i­pa­tory, net­worked in­stal­la­tions. Many of her works deal with in­di­vid­u­als in the global so­ci­ety try­ing to adapt to highly com­plex tech­no­log­i­cally en­hanced world, which is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly mo­bile. Beloff has ex­hib­ited widely in mu­se­ums, gal­leries and me­dia-art events in Eu­rope and world­wide, f.e. in Vi­enna 2011, the Venice Bi­en­nale 2007, and in Brazil 2008. She is fre­quently lec­tur­ing about her re­search and prac­tice in uni­ver­si­ties and var­i­ous con­fer­ences. 2002-06 she was Pro­fes­sor for media arts at the Art Acad­emy in Oslo, Nor­way. 2007-11 she was awarded a five-year grant by the Finnish state. In 2009-2010 and in 2011 she has been an in­vited vis­it­ing artist at The Uni­ver­sity of Ap­plied Arts in Vi­enna (AT). Cur­rently she is work­ing to­wards PhD within Plan­e­tary Col­legium, Uni­ver­sity of Ply­mouth. More in­for­ma­tion on her works: realitydisfunction.org