First Project Proposal – Digital Performance

Proposal #1: Identity

Device: Tablet to run Processing and display the heart rate

Sensor: Purse Sensor Amped

Other items: The box with display tablet

Description of possible future in the performance: This performance shows one of possible futures where society judges our identities by only quantitative data. In this alternative future, all we need to judge other people are only quantitative information. When we make a friend, when we interview someone, when we choose our business partner, and so on. Numbers clearly filter out good/bad neighbors, partners, employers, etc. In this alternative future, people believe numbers never lie.

Description of how to perform: First, I will put on the box with tablet attached on one of its faces. The tablet will be connected with the purse sensor on one of my finger, and display my real-time heart rate on its screen. By showing one of the quantitative data of me instead of my face, it symbolizes what the identity of individual means in this possible future.

Quote: “Now we’re at a moment where biometrics have so deeply and broadly changed what a face means. All the different ways that the face is a quantitative surface permeates through the world today (Burks).”

Place: This performance will be held in the square in front of the Commons building in Microsoft Redmond campus. This performance will raise the acknowledge of people who work in the area of technology, and deliver some messages that people can think about how their responsibilities as engineers matter on our society.


Proposal #2: Healthy me / Couch potato


  • Laptop to display fake step counts
  • Tablet to display my heart rate

Sensor: Purse sensor amped

Other items:

  • Chair
  • Small table

Description of possible future in the performance: When the devices that measure people’s health status first showed up, they worked just as tools that motivated people to move more actively. However, once insurance companies started taking the numeric data from their customers and utilized the data to determine the insurance costs, people started to fake their abilities and health related data by hacking some technologies.

Description of how to perform: I will sit on the chair, lazily eat potato chips. Around me, there will be some empty pizza box, a wrap of hamburgers, box of crackers, etc. Meanwhile, the laptop on the table will be showing increasing step counts. The step count will keep increasing even though I don’t do anything but eat potato chips. Also, there will be a tablet that will display my heart rate. This represents that in the future there will be both real and fake biometric data and people won’t be able to tell the difference just by looking at the data.

Quote: ” While personalized risk assessments can potentially involve greater levels of surveillance in exchange for reduced individual costs, the societal implication is that risk becomes personalized instead of socialized; the costs are shared amongst fewer people (Data & Civil Rights Conference 6).”

Place: This performance will be held in University of Washington Seattle campus where wide range of people pass by. Students and faculties of the campus can reconsider the utilization of biometric data.


Proposal #3: Binary machine

Device: Tablet to run Arduino

Sensor: Accelerometers

Other items:

  • 8 LEDs
  • A Mask that hold 8 LEDs

Description of the performance: I will wear the mask that is attached with 8 LED lights. Each LED light represent a bit, so 8 LED lights represent a byte and I can use them to show binary representation of alphabets using ASCII code. On a hand, there will be an accelerometer and depends on the rotational position of hand, the character representation will show either ‘F’ for female or ‘M’ for male. This “binary machine” recognize only two different states, which is determined by the rotation of a hand. Also it will provide only “two options”, which are either the backside of my hand or palm. Lights change for only when either inside or outside of hand clearly face the ground. The machine will not care about the process of shifting or intermediate state. Lights will show only two categories of gender. F for female, M for male. In addition all the binary codes in the Arduino code also represent this dichotomous thinking.

Quote: ” Single vision produces worse illusions than double vision ormany-headed monsters (Haraway 5).”

Place: This performance will be held in University of Washington Seattle campus where wide range of people pass by.


Works cited

Burks, Tosten. An Artist’s Pioneering Masks Shield Us from Future Surveillance. 26 01 2015. 06 04 2016.

Alex Rosenblat, Kate Wikelius, danah boyd, Seeta Peña Gangadharan, and Corrine Yu. “Data & Civil Rights: Health Primer.” Data & Civil Rights Conference, 30 10 2014.

Donna Haraway Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181.

1 thought on “First Project Proposal – Digital Performance”

  • I like the second idea best, because it is funny and I believe humor can be used to take the “message-heaviness” out of serious social justice so that people are more likely to engage.

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