Experimental Interaction Unit: Commodities of Mass Destruction




 

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Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

  • This paper describes several projects by the now-defunct Experimental Interaction Unit that use prod-uct design, software engineering, and digital networking to uncover collective behaviors that contribute to systems of social control. Biology and human behavioral studies are essential aspects of this critique. Experimental Interaction Unit’s projects from 1996 to 2001 represent subversive use of technology to reveal unrecognized aspects of human interaction with networks, such as how telematic distance psy-chologically absolves individuals from taking responsibility for their actions. The fear of vulnerability to terrorist actions, including biological warfare and electronic interference, is exploited in these works, in order to expose the ways in which security is promised in exchange for control.


References:

  • 1. One example is Natalie Jeremijenko, an engineer whose artistic practice centers on dispelling the perceived neutrality of technology. In collaborations with the Bureau of Inverse Technology, she has also worked under the rubric of a research corporation. Jeremijenko “redeploys” commercially available products for her own critical purposes. Her Feral Robotic Sniffer Dogs (2001-05) are modified versions of mass-marketed toy robots, which anyone can alter according to her instructions. For more information, see Timothy Druckrey, Bureau of Inverse Technology_Bit Plane, CTRL [SPACE]
    (Karlsruhe, Germany: ZKM Center for Art and Media, and Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002) 603, and the Feral Robotic Sniffer Dogs web site: http://xdesign.ucsd.edu/feralrobots/.

    2. Paulos developed Legal Tender while a PhD candidate in computer science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, under department chair Ken Goldberg. He received his degree from that department in May 2001. ACM SIGGRAPH 96 Visual Proceedings: The Art and Interdisciplinary Programs of SIGGRAPH 96 (New York: ACM Press, 1996) 43-44.

    3. John Canny and Eric Paulos, “Tele-Embodiment and Shattered Presence: Reconstructing the Body for Online Interaction,” The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet, ed. Ken Goldberg (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000) 283.

    4. John Canny and Eric Paulos, “Tele-Embodiment and Shattered Presence: Reconstructing the Body for Online Interaction,” The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet (op. cit.) 283.

    5. Experimental Interaction Unit, I-Bomb: http://eiu.org/experiments/i-bomb/tech_killed.html.

    6. Hakim Bey, The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism (New York: Autonomedia, 1991): http://www.hermetic.com/bey/taz3.html.

    7. Experimental Interaction Unit, I-Bomb: http://eiu.org/experiments/i-bomb/tech_killed.html.

    8. Ibid.

    9. Experimental Interaction Unit, Dispersion: http://eiu.org/experiments/dispersion/.

    10. US Department of Homeland Security, Threats & Protection: http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?theme=29.

    11. Experimental Interaction Unit, Limelight: http://eiu.org/experiments/limelight/info.htm.