Arts Research Center Fellowship on Biosensing in Urban Space

PhD Student Noura Howell and Prof. Greg Niemeyer are participating in the Arts Research Center Fellowship to develop their project proposal FEELER/CRAWLER/OCTOPET.

This project explores an alternative vision of urban sensing inspired by the dérive or unstructured wandering of the Situationists. Through these walks the Situationists sought to break out of routines and experience life differently. This project asks,

Instead of surveillance or self-optimization, how can biosensing support more poetic unscripted ways of experiencing daily life?

A Feeler/Crawler/Octopet wanders the environment and invites others to wander too. Its senses/sensors comprise its own quirky perspective, not the all-seeing authority of data surveillance. Its skin includes sensing pigments that change color in response to temperature, pH, carbon monoxide, UV, and ozone. It can sense touch with conductive fabric and piezo discs and respond with electrical signals transduced into sound. With little protruding feelers, it crawls around accumulating (recording, sensing) material traces of dust, dirt, leaves, and DNA.