Daily Dividuals

Tong Wu

This is a series of avatar-based Augmented Reality body sculptures of surreal scenes from everyday life in an imaginary future where the roles of human and machine are reversed. Combining social commentary and satire, this project reflects alienation of and between individuals and their surrounding environments due to increasing complexity and capability of technology in the age of algorithm.



“Daily Dividuals” includes a series of Augmented Reality (AR) sculptures presented in short movie clips to provide context. To reflect on the core concept, human alienation in the digital age, the project layers the theme and presents, through an AR lens, the imaginary transformation of the human body merging with and functioning as everyday objects.

The project contains two experiments with three examples in each. The student scanned her body to create a hyper-flexible avatar model, and used the model as the key material to construct scenes in the project. The first experiment creatively associates body avatars with everyday objects in shape and function, and explores the possibility and flexibility to duplicate and modify avatar models in an AR environment.

The second experiment is a continuation of the first. It purposely reverses the conventional ways a human interacts with common devices, thus presenting an unorthodox perspective in which to reexamine the alienation of humans. The second experiment has more interactivity involved. The audience can explore layers of the AR sculptures through various actions. Therefore, the “seeing” and the “being seen” together fulfill the concept of this experience.

Playing with dystopian connotations through the jarring and surreal images, the project prompts viewers to pause and consider the phenomena of estrangement observed in our evolving relationship to and dependence on machines.

When the public becomes insensitive to be treated as measurable data and samples; when people are used to only see highly abstract representation of the complex digital world; when intensive, repetitive human labor is constantly fed into the artificial intelligence industry, are we still dominating the machines, or are we dominated? We strive to make machines more like us, but it may be that we are becoming more like machines. In a way, we are meeting machines in the middle.