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.
Owen Wells (ex-Takram)