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May 22, 2007

Machine Therapy by Kelly Dobson


Human-Machine Resonance

Machine Therapy by Kelly Dobson (2002-present): I began singing with large machines in public spaces, discovering that I could come to be in resonance with the sounds of their motors. The motor sound was experienced then as inseparable from my own voice, as like when singing in resonance with another person. I experienced a connection with these machines as if body extensions. Sometimes I felt that I was controlling the motors of these giagantic machines with my voice; sometimes I felt that they were pulling me along. They brought me through expressions physical and vocal that I would have found no other way. This experimental balancing act and communication with the machines facilitated personal exploration, discovery, and development.

I am working to bring this form of experience directly to other people. I host Machine Therapy sessions with machines I have made or found. Small-size movie (5.4MB QuickTime). Related: Blendie.

Thesis Abstract: In this thesis I describe a new body of work called Machine Therapy, a methodology for revealing the vital relevance of subconscious elements of human-machine interactions that works within art, design, psychodynamics, and engineering. This practice highlights what machines actually do and mean, in contrast to what their designers consciously intended. Machine Therapy is a cyclical process that alternates between discussion of and sessions for empathic relationships with domestic appliances, personal extension and connection via wearable and prosthetic apparatuses, and the design of evocative visceral robots that interact with people's understandings of themselves and each other. Combining research and practice in digital signal processing and machine learning, mechanical engineering, and textile sensor design, I have been able to create new objects and relationships that are unique in some aspects while maintaining quotidian familiarity in other aspects. This is illustrated through the documented construction of several projects including re-appropriated domestic devices, wearable apparatuses, and machines that act in relation with users’ autonomic signals. These Machine Therapy devices are evaluated in studies of participants' interactive engagements with the machines as well as participants' affective responses to the machines. The Machine Therapy projects facilitate unusual explorations of the parapraxis of machine design and use: these usually unconscious elements of our interactions with machines critically affect our sense of self, agency in the social and political world, and shared emotional, cultural, and perceptual development. [via architectradure]

Posted by jo at May 22, 2007 03:06 PM