Sensing the Connection

Our international group started off today with quick presentations of our ideas for telepresent greetings. It was interesting to hear what the other groups had talked about from the idea of different levels of greetings to drawing on traditional greetings to reimagine what we do in the present. There was one note about commenting on the internet connection in the same way we often comment about the weather that I thought was particularly amusing.

In the workshop portion of the day, we took what we learned yesterday and built on it so that we could interact with each other through our Circuit Playgrounds. Alan Grover, Arts Engineer at MICA, provided us with the code we needed so that we could touch our own circuts and cause the LEDs on the circuits of others to light up—even from across the ocean!

My Circuit Playground receiving inputs from other students in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the U.S.

We also learned about concepts like “Evil” code (code that causes suffering) and thinking about coding as a craft. Frederik de Bleser from Sint Lucas Antwerpen covered the topic of protocols, which he defined as “how you behave under certain conditions.” During our break, we were charged of take a “group selfie” showing our respective cities (Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Baltimore).

Group 2

After the break, we met in our groups to brainstorm what we can create during the 24-hour making marathon that begins tomorrow. We talked about memory and how that is impacted by different senses. Since digital platforms tend to flatten the experience of something, we can infer that they are, in a way, flattening our memories of these experience. How can we use touch to add dimension to a digital experience? Annet Couwenberg challenged us specifically to consider how meaning changes as it migrates across platforms. We also discussed how we could disrupt the binary nature of digital tools (on/off, present/absent). One way is by considering the trace of presence. If a person with a strong perfume leaves room their smell lingers. If you touch a Circuit Playground with sweaty fingers, your sweat could cause the circuit to perceive touch even after you’ve removed contact. Tomorrow is likely to be a whirlwind moving into our presentation on Friday morning, but I’m excited about the direction we’re going.

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