Haptic Opposition

Computing systems and electronic devices often frustrate users by seeming to have a will of their own. Designers and engineers thus generally strive for the most unobtrusive, invisible systems possible; nevertheless, these systems are often inflexible when confronted with the complexities of the real world, and this inflexibility seems willful. The urge to make systems invisible means that opportunities for generative conflict�the kind of give and take that makes dealing with people so stimulating�are often ignored in device design. The Haptic Opposition (HO) project explores what happens when apparatuses claim their physical space, and looks for positive interactions that may happen with uncontrollable devices. Mechanical parts potentially moveable both by human beings and machine control are examined as a nexus of human-machine conflict. In a series of experimental installations, the HO project will consist of technical systems built with increasing free will and the power to enforce it; subtle distortions of a user's manipulation will grow into an autonomous behavior.