[ISEA2011] Workshop: Anna Dumitriu, Tom Keene & Alex May – Biosensing and Networked Performance

Workshop Statement

In this two-day workshop (4 hours each day) participants will build and calibrate their own iPhone or Android Phone compatible/connectable Galvanic Skin Response Sensors (GSR) to record subtle changes in their emotional arousal. This very personal sensor data will then be shared online. Participants will also collaborate to develop a networked performance intervention to take place at ISEA2011 that engages with the social benefits and ethical implications of disclosing such personal information as arousal levels within the public realm. Participants will learn to solder and connect their own GSR sensors, connect them to their iPhones and Android Phones and share their sensor data online. There will be a discussion of the implications of this technology and the increasing issues of privacy as pervasive computing technology is increasingly able to record and reveal personal details. Finally participants will work with the workshop leaders to improvise, plan and rehearse an intervention performance work that will be performed at the end of the second day. This performance may be very subtle and not immediately obvious to any audience members that may be around, again playing with ideas of what we do and do not reveal to those around us. The workshop builds on artistic research undertaken by Anna Dumitriu and Tom Keene as part of the University of Sussex Project “Supporting Shy Users in Pervasive Computing” an EPSRC funded project bringing together Informatics, Sociology, Human-Computer Interaction and Art. Participants should supply their own iPhones or Android Phones.

  1. What are the future possibilities and implications of ubiquitous bio-sensor data sharing?
    What ethical issues need to be considered?
  2. How do these technologies impact users on a personal level? This includes the impact on “shy users”.
  3. What are the technical difficulties of implementing the automated sharing of emotions via ubiquitous technologies?
  • Anna Dumitriu’s work blurs the boundaries between art and science. Her installations, interventions and performances use a range of digital, biological and traditional media including live bacteria, interactive media and textiles. Her work has a strong international exhibition profile and is held in several major public collections, including the Science Museum in London. She was a member of the e-MobiLArt project (the EU funded European Mobile Lab for Interactive Art) and Artist in Residence at The Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics at Sussex University, UK, (where she is the artist partner on the project “Supporting Shy Users in Pervasive Technology”). She is known for her work as director of  “The Institute of Unnecessary Research”, a group of artists and scientists whose work crosses disciplinary boundaries and critiques contemporary research practice. She is currently working on a Wellcome Trust funded art project entitled “Communicating Bacteria”, collaborating with the Adaptive Systems Research Group at The University of Hertfordshire (focusing on social robotics) and has recently commenced her role as Leverhulme Trust artist in residence on the Modernising Medical Microbiology project at The University of Oxford. normalflora.co.uk and unnecessaryresearch.org
  • Tom Keene is creative technologist and artist whose work focuses on the intersection of technology, communication and participation. Since 1998 he has worked as a freelance programmer and designer for web, networks and physical computing platforms. With his multi-diciplinary work ranging from collaborative website design and development, hi-tech sensor driven environments, reactive video and robotic installations to participatory arts projects in community settings. theanthillsocial.co.uk
  • Alex May is an international artist working with digital projection, 3D video mapping, illumination, and optics to create animated trompe l’oeil effects using scientific theories of perspective and projective geometry. He is a veteran programmer specialising in, but not limited to, high performance, real-time audio/visual processing, creating his own software to facilitate his own art projects as well as releasing open-source tools that are in use by digital artists worldwide. Working with sound designer Martin A. Smith, Alex has created a series of major site-specific installations for clients such as Kensington and Chelsea Council (UK), Universal Music, and Canon Europe.