e-Protea

Digital Alchemy: Future Technology Products Inspired by Diverse Voices in Science Fiction (2020)
Interactive Art
Supported by EU Creative Europe Programme of the European Union Grant
A Feral Labs Project
Solo Exhibition at Catch (DK)

e-Protea is a 3D-printed IoT-enabled flower sculpture inspired by the M-CPU from Nnedi Okorafor’s From the Lost Diary of Treefrog7. The plant is imagined as evolving from e-waste. 3 TFT screens on the plant’s leaves are fed images influenced by Twitter activity from ESP-32 MCUs while a large screen in the plant’s main flower shows hybridized imagery inspired by the story. Every two minutes, this screen also shows observers video footage of themselves captured by a USB camera in the plant’s base.

This Artwork is Part of the Digital Alchemy Series. Digital Alchemy Statement:

There has been a long and rich history between science fiction and the development of new technologies. From virtual reality to teleconferencing, science fiction has left its ongoing influence on our present day device-driven world. But technologies are not neutral: they are imbued with the values and interests of their creators.

What are the implications, then, if many of the works of science fiction which we see attributed to modern technologies were penned by white cisgender heteronormative male authors? What are the implications if the same dominant voices are overwhelmingly centered in the design and development of new technology products? Who gets a voice in creating the future and who is excluded?

Future Technology Products explores works of science fiction written by a diverse body of authors including women, LGBQTQAI* folx, and people of color to realize diverse futures through the creation of fictional technologies. Situated at the intersection of product design, speculative fiction, maker culture and intersectional data feminism, the artist selects devices and technologies mentioned within these works and realizes them as interactive product prototypes. The objects will be displayed, in both a physical and virtual exhibition, alongside documentation regarding the process of creating the object based on the fictional text. In this way, the project serves as an homage to the works of diverse voices in science fiction while also exploring the relationship between sci-fi and future technologies that are imbued with and directive of our culture.