Future Proof, 2016
Custom electronics, sensors, fabric, video projections, software
Performance, 60 minutes
A collaboration by Taeyoon Choi and Christine Sun Kim
Photos: SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2016
In the traditional sense of time, a bell-ringer notifies the hour of the day and notifies people to attend religious or public services. In a different sense of time, the wind chimes make the passing of time noticeable. It renders time as abstract rather than a series of numeric marks.
However, contemporary time is now controlled by Network Time Protocol (in other words, the Internet time) which synchronize the clocks of computers and phones around the world. This time is the new territory that constructs our sense of place. The concept of Future has become the perpetual Present.
For this lecture performance, we came up with seven potential futures and gave form to them as wind chimes with electronics and motors. As each wind chime creates sound in various speeds, they will gradually become one collective and intersectional future, in both controlled and abstract senses.
THE FUTURE IS DEAFHOOD
THE FUTURE IS CODING
THE FUTURE IS PUBLIC PRIVACY
THE FUTURE IS RATING TRUST
THE FUTURE IS EXPENSIVE SOLUTION
THE FUTURE IS POST DWELLING
THE FUTURE IS CYBERFEMINIST
- Video Typer Software
An excerpt from the script.
We wrote this lecture together, over few months. It’s a collective voice, a statement and a proposition.
2 – THE FUTURE IS CODING
Code is the New Language. It’s a language not a technology. Signing is a language, not a technology.
Code, in itself, is the language that doesn’t discriminate race, gender, disability or other differences. However the culture of code and technology is often not welcoming or inviting.
On the other hand, we struggle to legitimize signing as language in many countries. We are very happy that KSL is legitimized this year. Our language is now in the right place, we still got a lot work to do.
Then. How do we translate non-digital languages… such as ASL and KSL? How do we use Code a shared language between people who communicate and learn differently?
We wrote the software for the windchimes. It’s only about 150 lines of code. The Object Oriented Programming method allows programmers to write short code, and recycle much of the code for various applications.
“Technology will save us!” This sort of logic of tech saviorism persists everywhere. Technology can help the disabled person communicate. In reality, such technology fails to be widely used because of lack of adaptability.
The signing glove will not work, not because of technical challenges, but because it’s design does not respect how deaf people communicate in real life. The Deaf identity in the community widely varies due to all different levels of deafness and relationship with the Deaf community, which is why it’s extremely critical that the coders/developers include a number of Deaf people in every stage (or even invite them as collaborators), rather than developing based on hearing people’s assumptions of what Deaf people should experience, then test on them like monkeys.
Does every Deaf person want to experience/feel music? No. I appreciate your good intentions but no thanks.
The mainstream narrative of “I have this disability but I’ve overcome it and feel such and such” is more harmful than helpful. It’s a forced regulation (fitting the person into the standards of the ‘normal’) in the name of empowerment. We need to look at bringing equity to social values, this starts by bringing accessibility and inclusion in the field of science, engineering, and most importantly in the arts.
We want to see more tech ideas that are based on deaf experience by deaf people, not hearing people’s idea of what deaf experience may be.
* FUTURE PROOF will be performed in both written English and Korean, plus Korean Sign Language and American Sign Languages. The performance will require audience participation.
Text from SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2016 website.