Installation of 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 a seemingly intelligent artificial entity.
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. This set is the stage for several experiments always evolving from exploring artificial spoken sounds in combination with touch to fully interactive narratives.
Navigating through the disembodied networks of decision trees, each interaction follows a unique path interwoven with uncanny experiences of meaning and senses or 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.
This work was initiated in Shanghai, China in the context of the Research Fellowship of Chronus Art Center.