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Brief Published: 7 Apr 2017

STRP Biennale 2017: Digital Experiences Teach Us How We See

Fight by Memo Akten

Making the invisible technosphere of our daily lives perceptible was the main theme of Eindhoven's STRP Biennale 2017 (March 24 to April 2) – one of the world's leading creative technology events. Thirty artists and designers transformed data, wi-fi, GPS and other increasingly omnipresent digital systems into tangible experiences.

Perceptive Installations

British designer Tobias Revel's The Finite State Fantasia installation shows what a machine 'sees'. The machine's sensors – infrared trails and ultrasonic locators – are projected onto the walls. Its infrared sensors map out the cordoned-off space by bouncing off obstacles, disrupted every time someone walks into the space. 

Turkish artist Memo Akten's virtual reality experience Fight makes participants aware of the difference between what our left eye and right eye sees. The two visuals are sewn together by our brains as a composite image that distorts what's really there. Akten uses a blue image in one eye and a red one in another to reveal how the eyes converge to create a synthesis.

Keynote Takeaways

As demonstrated by these and other projects, "we are set to learn more about the mysteries of our own human brains and senses in the impending boom in artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality", according to keynote speaker Kevin Kelly. The American author is one of the original founders of Wired magazine, and has published several books on future tech trends.

Discussing post-humanist music, US music artist Claire L. Evans also concurred. "Instead of measuring a machine's intelligence on whether it can pass for being human, we need to expand the capacity of our senses to understand computer-generated sensory data [such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data] as a new form, not an inferior technology."

See our A/W 18/19 Design Direction Sacred for more examples of artificial intelligence responding to human senses, and virtual reality experiences that change our perceptions of nature.