Zubin Pastakia & Sara Krugman | 1 min | Denmark | 2012
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
“Not the ghost in the machine, but the body in the medium is the central dilemma of modern communications…” – John Durham Peters
The World : In a possible near future, where quantifying of the self is taken to its logical extreme, every person has their own “supermetric”. This is an informatic that encompasses every possible data set related to one’s life: financial, emotional, health, genetic makeup, carbon footprint, online influence ranking and so on are all included. Given the intertwining of vast amounts of both objective and what was once understood as subjective data within the supermetric, extreme and aggregated quantification has led—rather paradoxically—to near abstraction.
Updated in real-time, the supermetric is a dynamic version of the self outside the self, a digibody. People have come to think of it as a metonym for one’s “total” state of being. Your metric is you. This quantified self exists independently from the physical self and yet everything from friends, to employees, to spouses, to politicians are chosen based on it.
Increasingly, however, there is a desire to physically experience the data world; to reintroduce in the ambiguities and ontological weirdness of everyday meatspace.
A peculiar communication ritual that has gained popularity in fringe areas of the city is that of experiencing another’s “true” state via a transfer of the metric. It is a ritual that requires trust and commitment by both the people taking part. As the two data sets interact, the metric, the self of the other, is received and rejected, it fits, it doesn’t fit, it flows and gets caught, it indulges, aches, delights and refuses. This interplay is experienced by one of the participants on the body via a fluctuating electric current. In its essence, the ritual is thought to be a method for noise-free communication.
Written, Directed, Designed & Edited by:
Sara Krugman and Zubin Pastakia
Cast: David Gauthier
The video was made for the Performative Design workshop at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design ’12.
Zubin Pastakia studied development economics in college and went on to work in film and photography thereafter. His personal photographic work, which has been influenced by contemporary urban theory, has been exhibited in India and other countries. He recently completed a degree in cultural studies and is currently pursuing his Masters degree in interaction design at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID).
Fascinated by the relationships humans form with technology and the technologically mediated experience, Zubin believes that interaction design has much to contribute to shaping the everyday lives of people. However, to remain relevant as a design domain, perhaps it will have to bring onboard critical concepts beyond mere usability.
Interested in establishing a critical and speculative design practice, Zubin believes that there is much to learn from the near-future science fiction of J.G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick or the theoretical writings of Bruno Latour to understand the complex techno-social everyday landscape that we inhabit and need to design for.
Sara Krugman is an Interaction designer based in Copenhagen originally from the east coast of America. She is currently doing her masters thesis on the Aesthetics of Health Care Technology at the Copenhagen Institute for Interaction Design (CIID). Her work is grounded in the experience of living with type one diabetes and expands into thinking and making about the relationship between technology and our bodies. She is the founder of Line (linehq.com) a health care design consultancy based in Copehagen.