Fidgety Machines

Speculative design for psychological anxiety in social media

Fidgety Machines is a response to a situation in which human beings have become machines that obsessively process information fed by social media. Hidden within this dynamic is our subservient relationship with the infrastructure that supports digital communication. Over-checking of social media platforms, being the first to post events, and fear of missing out are pervasive aspects of obsessive compulsion. Rather than lamenting them, Fidgety Machines embraces these behaviours as positive skills.

We have constructed a reality close to our own where our data is constantly monitored and interpreted by machines. In this scenario, compulsive behaviours are exploited to create noise that confuses the machines algorithms, providing camouflage protection for our privacy. All three devices in the exhibit are designed to create junk data by harnessing the physical tics that typify compulsive disorders. The accompanying video imagines the effects of data noise on a machine vision that cannot recognise or make sense of it, exploring new aesthetics of confusion in computerised systems.

This project was developed for Unread Messages exhibition.


Design & Direction:
Yosuke Ushigome (ex-Takram),

Owen Wells (ex-Takram)


Onden Imaizumi BLDG
5-7-4 Jingumae
150-0001 Tokyo, JAPAN


First Floor
7 Bath Place
London EC2A 3DR, UK

New York

68 Jay Street, Suite 432, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA


109, 18F, L'Avenue
No.99, Xianxia Road, Changning District
Shanghai, China