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My Final Project:

What I hope to configure is an interface that enables multiple actors to engage in an environment that calls to their attention the psychological terror of being altered by the machine. I want to construct a visual fear rhetoric that makes conscious the fears associated with co-adaptation and uncontrolled/able technological influence.

To do this, I will likely use the image of the home–the place of safety and security where we reside, which has both an inside and an outside with a defined boundary–and try to undermine the boundary and the construct of the home all together, in turn, undermining (metaphorically) certain notions of the safe and secure human identity. I imagine forcing one actor to be dedicated to the maintenance of the home (enacting the desire to keep inside-outside dualist distinctions in tact ((interior self and exterior-body)); this “traditionalist’s” job will be to mitigate the realization that technological interaction forces a shifting and obscure relationship where “the self” is not separate from the body and is subject to change and erasure. Thus, I imagine forcing the other actors into trying to erase the house to create an open blackness of space. The “traditionalist” will have to enact strategies of violence and enslavement (through this technology) against other players to keep the house in tact, and this person will ultimately be unable to succeed. I plan to use a poem by Mark Strand (“The Tunnel”) to act as the primary point of struggle–language itself. (Yes, Mark gave me permission to mess with his poem! He’s cool.) The content of the poem plays with the idea of the inside and the outside and the terror associated with confronting what’s outside. In the end, you become what you were afraid of.

So, in the end, hopefully, the users will see a connection between 1) the linguistic notion that a signifier has no true, ideal referent and 2) the notion that the self is an upheld construction; the digital field where the home can fade or be erased as the result of the actions of the users and where the poem can be altered by those same actions will try to make evident the fact that technology does something to us and effects our future, encroaches on our safety, introduces suddenness and unpredictability. As David Wills says, “What if in order to venture anything whatsoever, anywheresoever, one had to begin in that technological, rhetorical, and fictive spacing, in the spacing of a displacement that necessarily meant a movement into exile, and a wandering without hope of any final return?” (pg 82 Dorsality)

Hopefully, the users will interact with the work and then feel creeped out by it–or feel any fears within themselves about future cyborgization.

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