Having spent almost a year at theatre school investigating the body’s relationship with objects in our lives, I’m particularly interested in:
- Gestures and habitual ways of moving our body
- Focus of our attention (as an audience and as a protagonist) in the world
- The tiny proscenium arch of the mobile device (particularly the screen)
I like the idea that we have an Information Body.
If I look at philosophers ( like Alva Noe) in the phenomenology lineage, they talk about how we cannot separate our sense of being from the environment we are in. This image in phenomenology is used; a blind person uses a stick to navigate their way, therefore the stick is a prosthetic extension of their body awareness.
If we combine the ‘Information Body’ with the blind person’s sense-through-stick analogy; then anyone who uses a mobile phone or a computer connected to the internet, has an information body, a tool of extension. It is an extension of our information, our data and our persona out into the world – through the means of a device. A mobile phone is a prosthetic device that extends our body information out into the world.
I was inspired by this quote from Slavoj Zizek in his work on Giles Deleuze’s theories in the book Organs Without Bodies:
Instead of bemoaning how the progressive externalisation of our mental capacities in “objective instruments” (from writing on paper to relying on a computer) deprives us of our human potentials, one should therefore focus on the liberating dimension of this externalisation…
On the developments in technology: Technology is becoming “A quasi-organic prothesis to our body” (Zizek 2004:15)
My information body cannot easily be amputated; the more technology I work with, the more my body is a part of an integrated information system in the world.
Technology design is fast descending the south-facing slopes of the uncanny valley to find a closer and closer sense of integration into the body’s biosystems. Where are the boundaries? There are skin boundaries versus the hard casing of a phone, or the removability of the Fitbit.
Let’s just say, for the sake of it, that the boundaries of skin, and the boundaries of your device are not as hard as they are, one soaks into another. That information is a system, like the lymphatic system, that goes beyond our skin. But as much as we want this integration, I don’t think we really want to release technology from the boundary of its tangible skin.
Information is a kind of virtual body liquid.
I like the idea that management of my Information Body is an act of self-care, almost a medical issue, rather than an act of design or marketing.
I am curious about the crossover between the design for technology and the design for our body’s comfortable presence in the world. Do we need the hard casing (or functional limitations) around the technology to make us feel comfortable?
It would be nice to have devices that were malleable. A pixel putty. So we could morph the device and its screen to be tiny or large, or stretch and condense it.
(Photo credit: Devising work at Central School of Speech and Drama by Ellen de Vries (me), Hansoloo Jhun, Chien-han Hung, J.D Stokely)