perceptual expansion space/suit
The Perceptual Expansion Space/Suit is a defined space wherein the participant wears the modular bodysuit to engage in a conversation with light and sound. By exploring the space with their newly expanded sensory apparatus--given to them by the suit, the participant may find the space presents itself to them in new ways.
This one-size-fits-all modular bodysuit has hot-swappable SensorNodes in order to facilitate different modes of sensing. The Nodes are currently mapped under the arms in an area of lowered conscious attention or Negative Perceptual Space. Like moving a spotlight across a darkened stage, attention will be shifted to these areas, exposing new ways to activate and be in the space.
The Perceptual Expansion Space/Suit originated with a study of gesture and semiotics. How can and does a gesture signify? Furthermore, how can we amplify subtle gestures into larger immersive performative experiences? To explore this further, last semester we built body sensing modules to visualize and sonify the iconic gestures of a kick and a hug. Through our process, we played at creating a performative gestural language and used that language as a metaphor for our theory of perception. We wanted to explore more than just gesture, however, and realized creating a one-size-fits-all modular bodysuit would open up the opportunity to translate different types of sensor data on the body into performances that fully explored our theory of perception.
One area of this theory we wanted to focus on this semester deals with Negative Perceptual Spaces, or areas of lowered conscious perceptual attention. These Negative Perceptual Spaces can be mapped onto the body in areas such as under the arms, behind the knees, between the fingers and other places we donâ€™t usually consciously think about. On the Perceptual Expansion Suit, we have outfitted an area of Negative Perceptual Space, under the arms, with light sensors to allow the participant to consciously sense and control their environment via visuals and sound with an area of the body theyâ€™re not used to sensing with. This interaction allows a feedback loop, or conversation to develop between the participant and the space/technology. The way the participant moves and senses (letting light in) via their armpits affects the types of visuals and sounds they're experiencing, which in turn will affect what the participant senses, affecting the environment, etc. The Space, or hollow wooden cube filled with projections and sound, creates a defined area to allow for a focused feedback loop.