Over the past decades electronic objects have become increasingly relevant in mediating our perception of reality. From mobile phones that keep us constantly reachable to digital cameras that automatically smooth out the skin, our daily interactions – with others, as well as with ourselves – are profoundly dependant on electronic artefacts. As the digital and real worlds bleed into each other in our daily routines, our online behaviours become inextricably related to our physical reality. Search engines subtly filter results according to data collected on our personal profiles; block or unsubscribe buttons offer immediate relief from invasive or unpleasant interactions within our online social circles; our personalities and images can be moulded, fragmented, displaced and distorted through the carefully curated online profiles. Filtering is a necessary part of life.
What do these filtering behaviours, so deeply associated with our digital lives, mean to the relationships and interactions we develop in our analog, tangible lives? How are our notions of self-image, intimacy and social behaviour affected by our online lives? A small series of three headpieces, each associated with a specific moment and social situation in life, explores the possible consequences of these behaviours in the near future, hoping to incite reflection and raise questions regarding our dependence on objects in order to perceive the world around us.
Be it a small locket containing a loved one’s hair lock, commitment rings or passwords for accounts on social networks or email providers, sharing something has always been a symbol of intimacy between couples. This object was designed as somewhat a ritualistic tool, aimed at creating a physical, tangible connection between partners.
The object keeps two people closely bound together while sharing a breathing device. In an era of instant communications, where couples can send each other emails and SMS messages throughout the day, will an object like this become a way of reconnecting within what is perceived as the ‘real’ world, creating a personal space inhabited only by two?
The control we exercise over our appearances in online environments has, perhaps, caused a divide with the physicality of our existence. As we become more and more accustomed to how we perceive and present ourselves in the digital world, our ‘real’ selves seem to have progressively become unfamiliar and uncanny.
This object consists of a small kit containing a mirror and a laser-cut tab fitted with several magnifying lenses. Pressure buttons allow the wearer to open and close the leather straps that hold the tab. The wearer can thus observe him or herself in the mirror through the magnifying and fragmenting lenses of the object.
By activating the unsubscribe function on Facebook or by clicking on the unfollow button on Twitter one can stop receiving updates from a specific person in their social circle. The function doesn’t let the “unfollowed” person know that he or she has been, essentially, muted; the social faux-pas is avoided, offering a guilt-free pass to ignore whoever you may wish to without any consequences to the friendship or to anyone’s online social position.
This headpiece was developed as a speculative prototype on the extension of this online behavior into the physical realm. Fitted with a small microphone and two headphones embedded in its lining, the headpiece would be pre-programmed by its owner in order to recognize subjects of conversation or even certain people; whenever an undesirable topic comes up, the headpiece emits a soft cloud of pink noise in order to cancel out the voices of those around the wearer.