The Slice
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The Slice

Soft Shapes and False Forms

On collecting data about the body, and then giving that data its own peculiar body as a collaborative experiment

This one of Marisa’s soft robots: “When thinking about simulating the natural world and inner workings of human body such as muscles for example research led me to the design and fabrication of inflatable soft sculptures. These sculptures are as otherwise known as ‘’soft robots’’ and are made from flexible silicone. Following the Soft robotics toolkit by the Harvard Biodesign Lab and the Fabricacademy’s open tutorials, I have managed to design and fabricate my own soft robots. Inspired by biodesign, nature, and the properties of living tissues and systems, this project was part of a two month artistic residency and is an introductory exploration of the potential and integration of soft robots in a visual and multidisciplinary art setting.”
Section from print book & layout from a project I started in Marisa’s Medical Bodies class in 2020. These images explore the human skin as an organ, and use altered photographs of reconstituted unusable food products.
We’ve been doing art research on the data body together for over a year, and a lot of what we’ve thought about is actually about sleep. Sleep tracking is a now-commonplace encounter with the invisible and uncontrollable body through wearable sensors. This makes working with sleep data a fascinating art practice, but often a bit isolating, even though the bodily experience is so deeply shared. In this class, especially the last 2 weeks, we ask: what does it mean for such a “self-tracking” practice to be collective? During the beginning of the class, we will encourage setting this “collective research agenda” together — so maybe it won’t be about sleep at all! But as an introduction and initial prompt, we will share some of what we’ve already explored with sleep data.
A slide from our talk at xCoAx 2021 about bringing art practice into self-tracking. You can watch the whole talk here, or check out the full article PDF.



notes from a self-tracking collective

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