a collection of wearable robotic agents
Christopher RomeroWriting and Research
Loretta Joelle Wolozin
Ethan D Silverman
This project reimagines the scope of relationships between humanity and its creations. Inspired by the ecological principal of commensalism, I designed a computational object with an autonomous nature, dissociated from human need. My exploration is one of design for human technology, but not (necessarily) for humans.
We tend to conceptualize robotic devices as objects of either servitude or fear. I reject this binary, and urge my fellow humans to consider the potential for a more robust, nuanced future with our constructed counterparts. Of course, a symbiosis is possible between humans and wearable technology, and I would hardly be the first to point out the very-real potential for a kind of parasitism to develop. But, it is also necessary to consider the possibility of commensal relationships emerging, wherein benefits are gained by technology to neither the benefit nor the detriment of humans. In exploring these relationships, I have found it useful to integrate the philosophies of object oriented ontology and speculative realism with the practice of design.
I invite viewers to step into the floral world of the Amara through my installation. In it, a robotic agent evolves based on information it collects from sensors embedded in a human-worn, 3D-printed exoskeleton. In this way, we can visualize a relationship in which a human acts as an extension of a robotic other. This broadens the dichotomous paradigm of “robot as servant or robot as sycophantic parasite” that humans have grown fond of. 3D-printed digital interfaces are displayed with an atmospheric soundscape. I also contrast soft pastels with dark base tones to evoke a soft, mechanical aesthetic. Through the Amara, we are able to address new questions about what a cyborg can be.
Photo credit: Angelina Melody Hobbs
With a background in costume design, design research, and imaginative thinking, Stephanie uses a little bit of techno-witchcraftery to design new products of the future. Through rapid prototyping and user experience research, her main focus has been on the development of wearable technology for speculative futures, as well as, interactive performances and commercial ventures. Most recently, she has served as a research assistant to fashionable technology guru Dr. Sabine Seymour, and has had work exhibited at NYC Media lab, SXSW, and The New School Urban Festival.