Playful Self is an interactive piece exhibited at the Dublin Science Gallery which illustrates research on a future of “biometric body data transfer." In a future where data about our bodies becomes available instantly and continuously, most objects around us will listen to our “body data” and react accordingly. Playful Self uses the example of a tea set to bring this future to life and asks visitors to reflect on their personal relationship with their most intimate data.
Science Gallery Dublin
Transnatural Art & Design
Dutch Design Week 2015
Data and Expression
We are bombarded daily with overly analytical data visualizations representing our lives and bodies. These figures can be informative but not always intuitively meaningful. The weight of this raw data is often anxiety-inducing. Playful Self presents data as physical expression, not just digital information, creating intuitive meaning that can be understood as abstractly as body language.
In the exhibition, visitors interact with objects which, when touched, instantly receive their personal body data and reflect it immediately in unique ways, such as a teabag that bobs gently in its cup to the rhythm of a heartbeat.
Steeped in Gamification
Playful Self aims to break down known paradigms of what data is used for and presents alternative relationships for consideration. We believe that the current model of considering body data is too focused on the gamified consumer physical fitness market. Playful Self illustrates a model for collecting and expressing data in a playful and abstract way which allows people to break their existing notions of what data is and how it should be used. It encourages users to express their bio-rhythms through touch without the distraction of screens, numbers, and graphs. Through play, we hope users can begin to envision new models and relationships to biometric data. We hope this shift in perspective will help someone unlock more meaningful use cases.
The tea set is a common social centerpiece that transcends cultures, age, gender, social strata. In many ways, wearables and streaming data are separating us from the value of everyday rituals and pushed us towards fast-paced, anxiety-driven lives. Playful Self looks at the importance of taking a break, breathing, and having some tea.
What if data could remind us to pause, reflect, and slow down?
A Future of Intelligent Objects
We see a future in which our personal data, including biometrics, will be streamed ubiquitously to the world around us. This constant flow of data will make life better in many ways but will represent the end of privacy and a real threat to the comfort of individual sovereignty. Through play, our installation encourages visitors to experience such a future so that they might become more aware of the objects around them and consider if those objects could or should be listening.
Mathieu Le Goc
Marco Furio Magliani