Tuesday, 18 November 2014

If This Toaster Could Talk - Atlantic Mobile

If This Toaster Could Talk - Atlantic Mobile - Alexis Lloyd:

This is a fascinating little article that starts by observing that as more and more objects gain some kind of rudimentary computing function they develop the capacity to contain their own narrative. The questions then become, Who hears it? Who authors it? What does it mean  - if anything?

Lloyd goes on to postulate three frameworks to help us interrogate these questions and the narrative power of objects.

PA122334 The first she describes as "Object as Portal" noting that we already use objects as touchstones to draw us into their stories, which we infer from the physical signs left by their history - what extra stories could be told by having interactive objects?

The next framework she describes as "Objects as Subjects" - a frame in which objects can be seen to have a point of view. Ridiculous? Ask yourself how you actually look to a face recognition camera. And why do you change your voice when speaking to a voice recognition system? Her final framework is "Objects as Oracles"in which fictional objects are used to explore our behaviours and society more broadly.

Lloyd supports her short article with a number of links to object related artworks and finishes with a number of questions:

"What stories do we want our objects to tell us? How do we move beyond utilitarian applications of new technologies to explore their poetic potential? What does it mean for an object to have a voice or a point of view? And how do we as authors inscribe our voices and narratives on the emerging world of connected objects and environments?"

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