Flow

Synopsis

Flow is a visual representation of wearable technology weaving with the senses and nerves of the body. I see wearable devices serving as a technological step for humans toward enhancing their own nervous system and attempts to highlight the involvement of data, especially web data, as part of the body. The human in part, becomes a cyborg, living alongside and dependently with its technological counterparts. The ‘data’ or information of technology flows through the body, enhancing and altering its capabilities. In essence, the flow of wearable technology is to be a digital nervous system, shaping the internal and external appearance and behaviour of the body.

This figurine was constructed as an afterthought from my Masters research on wearable technology and user behaviour. The research investigated the influences wearable technology has on the body’s senses and behaviour of the wearer. The project was also partly created as a gift to my university mentor James Charlton, who I was able to obtain a 3d scan of his head (without him knowing!) to be attached onto the muscular body. Flow utilised 3D design software and a selective laser sintering printer to produce the model.

The wire is chasing, meaning when turned on it appears to be animated and flow through the body. There are 3 different speeds for the wire.

The model has been photographed using long exposure shots.

Process

As my 3D model skills are sub par, I sourced the muscular body online from GrabCad called “Corps Humain Musclé 3D” by brazy-ü. I found it to be the best fit for what I could find and thought it helped highlight the synergetic flow between the data stream and the body. The podium was initially constructed as a way to secure/hide the battery pack of the el wire. Through its development I decided to turn it into more of a public figure statue by engraving the name of the mentor. From its size and density, the podium was the most expensive part of the project. Total cost to print the model came to around $300NZD.

All alterations to the model including the holes, head attachment and platform was designed and created by me. The most difficult part was getting usable turning angles in the holes while also keeping a clean and almost symmetrical look for the el wire. While the diameter of the el wire was around 2.1mm the holes ended up being 3.1mm to allow for the tight bends in the upper chest and head of the model. At one point, to get the wire through the body, I had to shrink/melt the tip of the el wire. The other limitation from using el wire is even though it is bendable, it is not very durable and can cause for the connections to break inside. As the end of the wire was the most over strained part when pulling it through, I made sure to have a leftover of 200mm to cut off, keeping the entire wire the same level of brightness.