Category: Devices

Your device is your body.

I like the idea that we have an Information Body.

A. Is your device an extension of your body?
There’s a fascinating philosopher called Alva Noe, a phenomenologist who talks about the way we can’t separate our sense of being from the environment we are in. He talks about the way a blind person might a stick to navigate their world; therefore the stick is a prosthetic extension of their body awareness, perhaps even their body.

Do we use our devices in the same way? We navigate through our world using a mobile phone, or even a laptop. A tool of extension. Is a mobile phone a prosthetic device that connects our sensing body with the world?

B. Is your device a limb?
Slavoj Zizek in his work on Giles Deleuze’s theories in the book Organs Without Bodies:

“Instead of bemoaning how the progressive externalisation of our mental capacities in “objective instruments” (from writing on paper to relying on a computer) deprives us of our human potentials, one should therefore focus on the liberating dimension of this externalisation…”

My information body can’t easily be amputated; the more technology I work with, the more my body is a part of an integrated information system in the world. Zizek says that technology is becoming “A quasi-organic prothesis to our body”. (Zizek 2004:15)

C. Is information a kind of virtual body liquid?

Let’s just say, for fun, that the boundaries of skin and the boundaries of your device are not hard; one soaks into another. Information is a system like the lymphatic system. It goes beyond our skin. As much as we want this integration, I don’t think we really want to release technology from the boundary of its tangible, hard skin.

D. Is information management a medical issue?
I like the idea that management of my Information Body is an act of self-care, almost a medical issue, rather than an act of design or marketing.

E. Where does the skin end and the case begin?
I am curious about the crossover between the design for technology and the design for our body’s comfortable presence in the world. Do we need the hard casing (or functional limitations) around the technology to make us feel comfortable?

F. Can we have a malleable device?
I’d love to play with pixel putty. When I heard that the new Iphone 6 bends, I thought it would be a good feature I’d like it to bend neatly around my body while it’s in my back pocket so that I can sit down comfortably.

(Photo credit: Devising work at Central School of Speech and Drama by Ellen de Vries, Hansoloo Jhun, Chien-han Hung, J.D Stokely)