December 11, 2004

It's about the art, stupid.

Steve Mann says it's not about Wearable Computing, but what you do with it. If you're not aware of his various artistic endeavors, check out this PDF, it really does a good job of summarizing his patterns of deconstruction in social hierarchies, and other technological memes.

'In my ShootingBack performance I explored [the unresponsiblity] phenomenon, by asking clerks at department stores, and the like, why they had placed me under video surveillance. Their typical response externalized the responsibility to some higher and unquestionable authority such as management. When I attempted to follow the chain of responsibility upwards, management indicated the directive was from head office, and head office argued video surveillance was just policy, or for insurance purposes or the like. Thus, there was no clear accountability for the situation. If an individual carried a handheld video camera around, videotaping clerks, casino operators, police officers, customs officials and the like, the individual might be regarded as strange, rude or otherwise acting in an inappropriate manner.'

And here's a picture of "SeatSale", an expiring licence to sit:


[Existential Technology: Wearable
Computing Is Not the Real Issue!
, Steve Mann; Interrogative Art, Performances, Cultural Criticism, etc...]

Posted by nym at 12:55 PM | TrackBack

November 14, 2004

Ken Stelarc


Stelarc[1].jpgA Brit named Zoe Khamsin came up with this cyborg art based on the very cool cyborg artist, Stelarc.

'This project was inspired by a lecture regarding the future of children's toys. By combining a traditional 'Barbie and Ken' Ken doll with Stelarc's unique cyborg inspired 'art', I created a doll with all the attributes of a cyborg.' [Ken Stelarc]


I wonder if Zoe Khamsin will make a toy 3rd arm under this vein. How about a Ken Stelarc EXOSKELETON to go with the Barbie Dreamhouse?

[Ken Stelarc via cofuturist blogger Regine at Near Near Future]

Posted by nym at 01:16 PM | TrackBack

November 07, 2004

Stelarc, Cyborg Artist

Just found a series of links about an interesting cyborg-artist, who has been working in performance art since the 1970s. BMEZine has an article about his earlier work with suspensions, but I think you'll appreciate his more cyborganic experimentations:

'In these times of health fascism and body image disorder, even the most toned-up can always find something that needs a little more work. But hardly anyone can be prepared to take things as far as the Australian performance artist Stelarc. When he looks in the mirror in the morning, he sees a body that isn't so much out of condition as obsolete, something that doesn't need a weekly workout so much a total workover. "The only was I see is that the body is mass produced but at the moment it doesn't have any replaceable parts. OK, we're making artificial organs. But this is just a medical approach. What we really need is a design approach. If you have a heart that wears out after 70 years, this to me is an engineering problem. We should start to re-engineer the body."' [from Stelarc, Cyberhuman? by [email protected] / I-D Magazine]

And from CTHEORY:


'Stelarc's art, often referred to as cyborg experiments, integrates inorganic matter with his body by renewing the neural activity that maintains equilibrium. By extending his body through heuristic machines, Stelarc redesigns and remaps perception. While his suspension events are worthy of debate, Stelarc's later experiments with multimedia stimuli and the body and ideas concerning artificial intelligence will be the objects of focus. Ping Body an Internet Actuated and Uploaded Performance and ParaSite for Invaded and Involuntary Body are performances that occurred from 1995-98 and his artificial life experiment Movatar an Inverse Motion Capture System is on-going.

The objectification of the body, a theory that informs Stelarc's cyborg experiments, is not actually a modern idea. The body as a machine, is a theory that is tied to the work of the seventeenth century thinker Rene Descartes.[3] In 1637, Descartes published the Discourse on Method . The body is composed of only mechanical functioning, wrote Descartes. The body and mind were distinctly separate for Descartes, who thought the body a machine, to be informed by the higher order rationality of the mind, that was imbued with pneuma (breath of God or soul).[4] Stelarc's body and mind have been hollowed out from this dualistic theory. It does not mean he is an atheist, as if his mind or soul does not exist. Rather, he revitalizes the body with respect to consciousness.' [The Body Without Memory: An Interview with Stelarc by Mark Fernandes]

Selarc's experiments seem similar in many regards to the work of The Psymbiote and Steve Mann. I sure hope Stelarc brings his peformances to Los Angeles!

[Official website, Recent peformances via snfg on]

Posted by nym at 02:38 PM | TrackBack

October 03, 2004

The Annals of Wearable Computing


[Cartoon from The Fifth Wave. Hyped by Steve Barr ( on the Wear Hard Mailing List]

Posted by nym at 09:09 PM | TrackBack

September 21, 2004

My Little Cyborg


[Link via boingboing]

Posted by nym at 12:45 PM | TrackBack

September 10, 2004

Burning Man Tech Photos

I'm recovering from Burning Man, and have a slew of emails from people about igargoyle to respond to. The below are photos from Burning Man and show me, my brother, and Rich Gibson. More details on our camp can be found at

Some things just need to be purged.

Posted by nym at 01:13 PM | TrackBack

August 25, 2004

Technomadic DOOM

ROAM-NET, a group of programmers and artists that I started, is bringing the above art car, and a public terminal kiosk for this year's Burning Man festival in the Nevada Black Rock Desert. This is the reason I've been pretty quiet the last few days, but while I'm at Burning Man, I will be uploading photos to igargoyle of interesting technology from this remote festival, and will be blogging the event on the ROAM-NET newsfeed.

The goal of this year's project is to establish a roaming platform for signalling to, and interacting with event participants, be it through event publishing, blogging, photo sharing, or signalling to your friends where you are.

It is about communication, cartography, and tech art in the most remote of places in North America, and one of our long term goals is to build programs and projects to teach children about emerging technology and cartography.

To send in a donation to the project, click here, and become a ROAM-NET angel.

Posted by nym at 04:56 PM | TrackBack

July 28, 2004

Robot Revolution



Robot revolution posters, for sale. Buy one for your roomba.

[Link via boingboing]

Posted by nym at 11:12 AM | TrackBack

July 25, 2004

London Floaters

I'm not really sure how serious Marcin Panpuch is about his idea to build floating spherical houses for the Thames river, but I really like it. It lends itself to technomadics, zero enviornmental impact homes, and water dwelling.

Makes me think of that crazy raft idea in Snow Crash, where ships would tie on to that giant aircraft carrier as it migrated around the world.

"The river could take you and your house everyday from the suburbs of London to the centre without the need for high-energy consumption. The house itself could become a mode of transport."


[Link via near near future]

Posted by nym at 09:19 PM | TrackBack

July 24, 2004

Baby Cyborg

Jobe Bittman writes "You always have good pictures on igargoyle. Maybe you can use this for someting.".

I'd like to start posting more pictures of cyborgs, so please send me any photos you find. If any readers take their own photos, please tell me so I can give credit where credit is due.

Posted by nym at 10:17 AM | TrackBack

July 22, 2004

Jacked In


I am so turned on.

Posted by nym at 10:25 AM | TrackBack

July 15, 2004

ROAM-NET Pictures

Just finished an update on the ROAM-NET Project which will be returning to Burning Man with three vehicles - A golf cart, a car, and a van, each with slightly different artistic visions.

The vehicle I'm working on with my brother and various friends is called R0AM-1, which will have a public terminal, various webcams, and an external display to signal geolocated events that are both close in proximity and time. Those who publish feeds of their events at burning man will be able to get the word out visually, as well as through our interactive playa services.

With the use of webcams we'll be able to bounce photos of each other's point of view around the playa, and with our GPS units, we'll be able to pinpoint them using collaborative cartography. Just as blogging has changed the publishing community, I believe ROAM-NET will redefine how people visualize and signal each other at Black Rock City.

I'm always looking for suggestions, help, and computer equipment! Drop me a line if you want to get in touch. If you're in the LA/OC area, and also a "burner", please join LA Burners (


Posted by nym at 01:23 PM | TrackBack

July 13, 2004

Digital Tattoos

Digital Tattoos are an interesting idea to me since traditional tattoos are awfully static. Imagine having an animated mario on your arm, or a winking woman. I'm not sure how soon this kind of stuff will be a reality, but I'm sure it's a possibility body modification technologists are working on, as this patent suggests. The above photo is a concept from the core77 memory contest, and also brings a third element to the digital tattoo- connectivity. The digital tattoo on the virtual model shows the weather condition on his cheek, which could just as easily be the number of American soldiers killed during the Iraq war, or the color-coded homeland security alert level.

Comments are open so you can tell igargoyle what you would put on your digital tattoo.

[Link via beverlytang]

Posted by nym at 04:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2004

The Psymbiote


Psymbiote calls itself "Hybrid Apparatus for Social Interface - an evolution in progress", but in plainspeak, the Psymbiote is a cyborg persona from performing artist isa gorden in collaboration with Jesse Jarrell & DEvan Brown. Their aim seems to be to create performance using cyborganic based technology to "...stimulate dialogue regarding the future of technological enhancements to the human body". In the process they have created some amazing costume/cyborg prosthetics, and seem to be the leading cyborg performance art group currently, dispite Steve Mann's longstanding role as a cyborg/artist.

The piece I'm most interested in from Psymbiote is their wax prototype data input glove which would really go well with my technomadic art for Burning Man, which lends itself to a similar aesthetic ethos. The input is done via a series of flex sensors. Their production notes are also quite interesting:

"The wax original has been dismantled, molded with silicon and duplicated using wax injection. The individual parts are now being cast in titanium. The resulting units will eventually be jointed with fiber composites. The final product will have an organic appearance, mechanical movement, and functional input."

They also address some interesting design issues to do with how we interact with people, especially in terms of encumbrance:

"Hands are the primary source of production in our culture, and encasing them in technology brings up issues of empowerment vs. encumbrance. This glove will give me new tools, and will provide triggers for other functionality. But how will it affect my ability to use my hands in the ways we're accustomed to using them? To reach and grasp, to interact with my environment, to touch a friend or caress a lover? How will this change me? The glove is fully articulated, but still it alters my means of function, and the body itself. These are some of the interactions we hope to test in our work, and in public performance." [The Psymbiote Speaks: On Generating A Cyborg Body]

Probably inspired by cyborganic like artists such as H.R. Gieger, the Psymbiote seems alien, instead of attempting to embrace humanity. Then again, self expression and creativity is such a human trait, which is why I think I like body modification so, be it nose piercings, pacemakers, or even sumdermal blinking lights. Psymbiote is edgy and interesting, and I look forward to them hosting SIGGRAPH's 3rd annual Cyborg Fashion Show.

Another cyborg poem, this time from the Psymbiote, after the jump.

[Link via sinthetex (fetishwear)]

"the psymbiote speaks through me
echo of whispers from this womb
can you hear her?
she asks:

am i beautiful?
do you fear me?
will you let me seduce you?
but i need your permission
you have to let me inside your boundaries
you have to want to be dissected
let me caress the viscera
let me extend myself into you
we can blur the edges together
i can make you more
i can build you into something new
let me under your skin
and i will make you whole"

[The Psymbiote Speaks: On Generating A Cyborg Body]

Posted by nym at 03:17 AM | TrackBack

July 10, 2004

Transhumanism Poetry

pierce me, puncture me

underneath my skin

drive that metal
drive that steel

underneath my skin

packets of silicon
plastic and seawater

underneath the skin

flesh so forgiving
bone melted with coral
strange modifications causing stranger looks

underneath the skin

quiet watches pumping life
ceramic bones and artificial appendages
appending freedom to our fragility

underneath our skin

magnets to feel fields
artificial eyes peered
emotions shared in zeros and ones

all underneath our skin

silent whispers oscillate
all of which makes me contemplate
where is the soul of a cyborg?

underneath the skin

will it transcend with my humanity?
is a brain without a body alone?

bore that hole, make the slit
replace my body with a kit

just keep it underneath my skin

Written by Tom Longson (nym). Released in the public domain or whatever licence is the most liberal. Go ahead and make money off it, I don't care, but I would appreciate a link and credit. Danke!

Magnetic arm implant photo from madmax tatoo&piercing. "magnets to feel fields" line inspired by someone I met last weekend who had a magnetic implant in his finger to feel currents in power cables.

Update: Comments now open.

Posted by nym at 10:00 AM | TrackBack

July 08, 2004

Raver Wearable Displays

Welcome slashdoters!

Our server is doing fine and we encourage you to check out the rest of our site. Infogargoyle is published daily.

Hufo from /. points out the following videos of this in action:

Windows Media Video 1 | Windows Media Video 2

France Telecom has done some fun R&D to display pixelated images from your cellphone on your shirt or sleeve. These raver garments can even be used as a standalone device that can animate based on sounds and gestures. The technology uses a flexible circuit board with LEDs and other electronic bits like sensors layered in a fabric layered sandwich, which they claim is fairly comfortable.

The researchers at France Telecom hope people will use these textiles to do things like display their mood, but I'd be happy if my pixilated avatar would just bop to the beat of the baseline when I'm out on the town. I really hope to see better resolution displays; this technology is still very young. With better resolution, designer memes and logos might become the hot intellectual property being shared by the young hipsters. Animated clothing is something I've been seeing a lot at Burning Man by artists with electroluminescent wire, so I have hope that this technology will encourage fashion to be more creative. For example, I would love a shirt that could display a very large "NO SPAM" message to display disgust in solicitors and peddlers in appropiate situations. I'd love to hear how others would use this creatively, so once again, I've opened up the comments

[Link via textually]

Posted by nym at 09:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2004

Cybersexual Art

2004_07_06_luxureau.jpgAfter reading about the "War on Pornography", I found this cool flash art on Fleshbot called Luxereau. I've always loved metalic and fleshy curves, so it's interesting to see them combined. On the other hand I absolutely hate breast implants, they're so untactitle and they don't even come with a radio or flash drive.

These cyborg women from Luxereau remind me of Bjork's various robotic and body modification videos. Mmmm... cybersexual!

[Link via fleshbot]

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June 23, 2004

Mass Distraction

New ideas for cellphone distraction:

The Hood:

The Coin:

The Game:

[Link via]

Posted by nym at 01:22 PM | TrackBack

June 02, 2004

Wearable Computing Gets Furry

This more artistic than technical hat is designed to allow people to know when you want to listen, or when you're busy listening to music.


[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2004

Dressed for Dependence

Last October, Desearch and Revelopment put on a two week workshop called Dressed for Dependence, which uses art to provoke critical thinking about technology and a society of control. The site has a wiki and large photo gallery. This photo to the right is my favorite. K3, Malmö University - thirteen brave students produced clothes and accessories designed to increase the wearer's dependence on technical structures and the benevolence of other people.

[Link from anna vallgårda on]

Posted by nym at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack