Installation 3mx3mx3m Massage chair, textile curtains, vinyl floor and plastic sign
Chronus Art Center Shanghai
Alexander van der Zalm
We touch our technologies but how often do they touch us back? ‘Full Body Smart Automatic Manipulator’ unveils a stage for exploring the intimacy between technologies and their humans, using tactility as an uncharted medium for interaction and exchange with artificial intelligence.
The experience begins at the moment of impact between a massage chair and its human visitor: a two way discussion were unexpected behaviour punctuates every marked interaction. As the narrative develops, more is revealed about the motives of the machine and the constructed reality it is situated in. Or is the AI’s reward system deviating the machine from its intended functionality?
Navigating through the disembodied networks of decision trees, each interaction follows a unique path interwoven with narratives exposing the friction between control, automated labour, commercialised AI and intimacy.
The fleshy body and augmented voice of the machine, enveloping its human counterpart, occupies an undefined intersect between organism and apparatus. Cognitively and corporeally it labours as every rotation of the massagers push against our assumptions of what it means to be artificially intelligent.
The medium truly is the massage.