[ISEA2017] Paper: Blake Johnston, Ajay Kapur, Jim Murphy & Michael Norris — Extending/Appending The Perceptual Apparatus: A History of Wearable Technology in Art


Keywords: Wearable Technology Artworks, Perception, History of Art, Bio-hacking, Sense Substitution, Artistic Framework.

Our understanding of how we perceive the world, and our ability to manipulate it, has become increasingly mediated by technology. As this technology progresses, the possibilities for a closer coupling between technology and our sensing faculties is possible, blurring the line between body and technology. This paper explores the history of the relationship between wearable technology and our perceptual apparatus. It spans from the invention of the lens through to the current exploration of embedded technology, which allows for the manipulation of the perceptual apparatus itself. This paper discusses the various ways in which the relationship between our perceptual apparatus and forms of wearable technology has been developed and explored in the arts. It then uses this framework to speculate on new works, and describes two new works by the author: Your Hearing Them, and Your Localisation Exposed.

  • Blake Johnston is a New Zealand based sound artist, currently undertaking his PhD at Victoria University of Wellington Te Kōkī, New Zealand. His works explore his idea of the metaperceptual: the approach of using the perceptual apparatus of the audience as the base materials for his works. blakejohnston.net
  • Michael Norris is a Wellington-based composer, software programmer and music theorist. He holds composition degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and City University, London, and is currently Programme Leader, Composition at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Ajay Kapur is currently the Director of the Music Technology program (MTIID) at the California Institute of the Arts, as well as the Associate Dean for Research and Development in Digital Arts. He runs a PhD Research Group in Wellington, New Zealand called Sonic Engineering Lab for Creative Technology and is the Founder and CEO of Kadenze, the Creative Arts MOOC.
  • Jim Murphy is an artist and researcher working at the boundary between mechatronics, luthiery, and installation-oriented sculpture. His recent works focus on the act of obtaining unexpected sounds from objects through the use of mechatronic actuation and excitation. In 2015, Jim founded new media project Technical Earth with artist Mo H. Zareei.

Full text (PDF) p.  482-491