Hanna Haaslahti - "Captured" and Kat McDermott - "Absurdist Electronics"

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ThoughtWorks, Inc.

99 Madison Ave · New York, NY

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15th Floor, 99 Madison Avenue is between E. 29 and E. 30th Street

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The Volumetric Society will be presenting two pioneering artists, Hanna Haaslahti - presenting "Captured", and Kathleen McDermott, presenting "Absurdist Electronics: The Disruptive Power of Slapstick in Wearable Tech and Consumer Robotic Design"

Captured

How do we step into representations? Captured is an ongoing research project about inhabiting the image, extending our physical likeness in virtual realities and simulations. The project explores new, hyper-realistic capturing and 3D modeling technologies and their effects and social implications on human relationships.

Captured takes shape as interactive installation with 3D face reconstruction technology, that generates avatars from people in realtime. Your avatar becomes a member of virtual community together with other captured avatars. The relations in the community are fickle and mob rule takes over. Sometimes you are the bully. Sometimes you are the bystander. Sometimes you are the target. Social pressure is bounced back from the avatar community to the audience where people follow together their misbehaving doubles in the animation. The actions in the avatar community are controlled by AI, mixing narrative with simulation.

It is impossible to know how much of me belongs to others and is commanded by my social communities. Captured let´s you explore the unclear boundaries between collective and individual self, reflecting incidents of mob rule in contemporary information society.

Hanna Haaslahti is a media artist working with image and interaction based in Helsinki, Finland. Her tool is computer vision and she’s interested in how machine shapes social relations. Her artworks generate new narrative interaction between people, she explores possibilities of human-machine-human collaboration. She is inspired by scientific research on perception, vision and AI, likewise everyday observations about human life in the age of machines.

Captured is a collaboration with Tyler Henry, an artist and creative coder based in New York.
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"Absurdist Electronics: The Disruptive Power of Slapstick in Wearable Tech and Consumer Robotic Design"

Kathleen McDermott utilizes a combination of sculpture, open-source electronics, performance and video, to explore the social ramifications of the relationship between organic bodies (human or otherwise), and technology; an artistic research method she refers to as absurdist electronics. Absurdist electronics promotes the use of absurdity as a counter to both the cult of reason prevalent within contemporary technology design methodologies, and the atmosphere of doom prophesied within science fiction narratives. Drawing on the Dada principle that absurdity and shock can be an appropriate response to technologically-enabled feelings of alienation, absurdist electronics seeks to jolt audiences out of the cycle of anxiety associated with technological change through playful, strange inventions; while simultaneously casting a critical eye on commercial design tropes which present technology as a solution to all of life’s problems.

Kathleen McDermott is a media artist with a background in installation and sculpture. She holds a BFA in Sculpture from Cornell University, an MFA in Creative Media from City University of Hong Kong, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). She is currently a Visiting Industry Assistant Professor of Integrated Digital Media (IDM) at NYU. Her work has been featured in a range of major publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and Dezeen, and has been exhibited internationally. She shares tutorials for working with DIY electronics online at https://urbanarmor.org/.