perceptual expansion space/suit

amy rose khoshbin
Michael Craig Clemow

The perceptual expansion space/suit is a one-size-fits-all modular bodysuit that lets a participant sense with parts of their body they're not used to consciously sensing with. The participant changes the light and sound of the space in a feedback loop (conversation) between the person and the technology.


Classes Art/Science Collisions,Live Image Processing and Performance,Sensor Workshop,Wearables Studio

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.

Drawing from areas including phenomenology, semiotics, gesture analysis, live visual and sound performance, subatomic particle theory, and quantum mechanics, the Perceptual Expansion Space/Suit synthesizes these realms by utilizing our paradigm of perception as a conceptual framework. Through breaking down perception into individual units or Phenomenal Atoms, we begin to explore how we create meaning and signification through our construction of reality. A lack of these phenomenal atoms in a certain area of the mindbody constitutes an area of lowered conscious attention or Negative Perceptual Space. These negative perceptual spaces are what we are focusing on with our Perceptual Enhancement Space/Suit.

Participants will be defined by their interest in exploring Expanded Perception and sensing with parts of their body they're not used to sensing with. Anyone of any age can participate.

User Scenario
A Participant will approach the area and ask what this project is about. We will point at the person wearing the suit in the box and tell them that this is an experiment in "Expanded Perception." That we are analyzing the results of the participant exploring a space with an "Expanded Sensory Apparatus" and ask them if they would like to Participate after the current Participant has completed her test. They will accept or decline the offer. If they accept, after the current Participant has completed her test and received the results, the new Participant will be put into the "Sensory Expansion Suit" and directed to the empty area defined by the wood cube. The new Participant will be instructed to "Explore the area around you and tell us what you discover." We will note their responses on clipboards. When the Participant thinks that the experiment is over, it will be and the next one will begin.

The Perceptual Expansion Space/Suit is as follows: A one-size-fits-all modular bodysuit outfitted with SensorNodes, a hollow wooden 4x4x6 cube, a projector, headphones, and a computer running Max/MSP/Jitter, Chuck, Processing, Python and other applications. The modular bodysuit has sewn-in circuits that attach to magnetic snaps, which serve as hot-swappable SensorNodes. These nodes connect to the Lilypad Arduino, which is transmitting the serial data via an XBee, also attached to the suit. You can attach a variety of sensors to the nodes, the current ones in use are photo resistors.

We are still learning and revising/extending our paradigm to understand how perception is created. The results of this experiment will influence the creation of the next.