Presenting "Empathic Frequency", the project realized during the Fak'ugesi African Digital Residency.
Then, introducing the idea of "chili design" - in other words - design should put at the center the ability of technology to allow discovery, curiosity, and inventiveness.
Empathic frequency is an “emotional radio” – a radio that can be operated through facial expressions.
This is a collaborative way of discovering songs, because one person acts as a listener, while the other is able to change the tracks by adjusting its facial expression through a smile or a funny face for example.
For doing so, I have recorded copious amounts of music from various radio stations in Johannesburg. Then, I have classified these musics in different emotions: happy, surprising, a bit sad. And in the end I made a program that choose and plays a music according to current detected expression.
Code source of the project on github: https://github.com/mathildebuenerd/emotional-radio
- Hi everyone - I am Mathilde Buenerd - I am a French interaction designer and artist currently living in Geneva, Switzerland.
- To introduce myself a little bit, - My work explores the connections between language, algorithms and social relationships. - My main interest lies in how technologies could permit alien ways of looking at things. - The projects I did before embody various forms like mobile apps, web extensions, connected devices or generative art.
- The project I have developped during the residency is called _Empathic frequency_.
- It is an “emotional radio” – a radio that can be operated through facial expressions. This is a collaborative way of discovering songs, because - One person acts as a listener while the other is able to change the tracks by adjusting its facial expression through a smile or a funny face for example.
- For doing so, I have recorded copious amounts of music from various radio stations in Johannesburg.
- Then, I have classified these musics through different emotions: happy, surprising, a bit sad.
- And in the end I made a program that choose and plays a music according to current detected expression.
- At the center of this project, and my answer to this year theme “Vernacular algorithm” - is the exploration of how digital media can allow us to forget for a while the cultural differences induced by language.
- In the projects I did before, I usually use language, writing or talking as my main material. - But when I came to Johannesburg, I was very fascinated, and also a bit disturbed in my process by the diversity of languages spoken here.
- That's why I wanted this project to explore the use of universal means of communication – emotions. - It focuses on ways of communicating universally, transcending language barriers between people.
- It is also an attempt to unravel the way in which computers and algorithms view traditional cultures on a more global scale, - And how technologies could open up alien means of perception.
- What I mean when I say that is. - We usually use technologies to make our lives more organized, more rational. - But what if we use it for losing control, for discovering things we would have never discovered if we were in control of everything.
- You know - What really bothers me nowadays, is that - I think our imagination around digital media and what we should use it for, is too restricted.
- That’s why one of the reason why I did this installation, - Is to show an alternative, simple and funny ways, of using apparently complex and obscure techs such as face recognition.
- I strongly believe that technology should not only be seen as a problem solver or as a tool for increasing efficiency.
- We don’t listen to music or go to the cinema to solve any problem or to be more efficient. - We do this because it opens our mind.
- I believe we can also use digital media in this way. - Our lives are more and more tangled with technology, so we definitely have to find more creative ways of using it.
- It has the ability to allow discovery,
inventiveness and bring some unexpectedness in our lives, and I think more people should focus on that.
- I would like to finish with a quote that I really like from the swiss scientist Frederic Kaplan, who was saying in 2007 that it's maybe time to see technology through a different perspective, introducing the notion of "chili technology".
- Maybe you want chili technology, maybe you actually think that technology is something a bit exciting that should push you a little bit. Not just being in the background and do just what you want to do, but sometimes, come in your life and have a kind of unexpected effect.