A tool for a post-human centric envisioning

Augmented Perception: Extension via Subtraction

A Socio-Technological-Ecological Entanglement

Graduation project produced for MA Critical Inquiry, Design Academy Eindhoven (2020). Exhibited at the Temporary Art Centre (Eindhoven, NL) August 27-30, 2020

 

PROJECT OVERVIEW

 

AIM: To sensitise and introduce another envisioning for a more viable future for the planet - one that promotes ecologies and the environment at the forefront.

 

MISSION STATEMENT: Reverse (un-)engineering components of anthropogenic centralisation to promote an extended perception, understanding, thinking, sensing, and envisioning with technology and ecologies of the planet - the more-than-/other-than-/non-/post-human.

 

INTERVENTION: The subtraction of the infrared-cut(off) filter from the digital camera.

 

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

  • The main body of research was found through inquiring and investigating into patents of technological devices, in specific the digital camera and those surrounding the digital camera. In order to de-construct and expose the relationship that a particular invention has with humans, our environment, and planetary ecologies.
  • The dissection, removal of the infrared-cut(off) filter and reconstruction of multiple digital cameras.

 

OUTCOME

  • The making of a tool for a post-human centric way of seeing, one that confronts us with the limits of what we-humans can see.
  • A tool that enables an extended consideration of the visual sense, augmenting our ways of seeing.
  • A device that is able to detect both wavelengths of the visual spectrum and near-infrared electromagnetic radiation.
  • The production of images that allow for an opening up of a world that is hidden in plain sight, one of an electromagnetic relationship to our surroundings.

 

BACKGROUND (a fragment)

The investigation started off in attempt to extrapolate a fragment of my thesis project 'Augmented Vision' -- to render and fabricate a material project from an element of thinking present within the thesis, to expand a chosen element of thinking and to 'make something of it', to give space to that chosen element of which the thesis project didn't allow. Due to the thesis project being involved with vision, accordingly images and perception became one element of focus. The thesis project also provided spark to a growing fascination with researching through patents, this became the second focal element. Patents acted as both the backbone and diagrammatic aid for my research for 'Augmented Vision' providing a grounding into the mechanics and technicalities of the device of interest: augmented reality glasses. As a result, from researching through patents, into devices, vision and perception, a new device came into focus: the digital camera.

 

How to provoke a nuanced post-anthropocentric perceiving and envisioning?

 

In attempt to delve into the electronics of the device and expose the mechanisms within the digital camera, there occurred the research into its history, relevant patents, as well as, the dissection of multiple digital cameras. The reading and camera dissection led to the consequential stumbling onto the IR-cut(off) filter, which became the needle in the haystack to this investigation. In researching further around the positioning and impact of this small barely 1cm object, what came to be revealed was a vast historical and social underpinning, delicately woven within the way that us-humans access and perceive images, all catered towards employing the human as the dominant species; continuously promoting human-centricity.

 

When the first digital cameras were invented the inventors chose to restrict the digital camera to the human perceivable visual spectrum electromagnetic range of seeing.

 

x EMR VS diagram x

 

Over the past few decades through the scientific confirmation, and realisation of climate change, and biodiversity loss at the expense of human 'growth' there is an even greater need to raise awareness towards the human-centric devastation upon our now dying planet, even more timely today in the mist of a pandemic. Research has revealed and raised alarm that we live in what is known as the Anthropocene, and that our ravenous need to seek and infiltrate, learn, explore and discover new things about our planet has lead to capturing it and moulding it towards a human-perception with disregard for the 'visions' and 'perceptions' of other species, and organisms. This is where the subtraction/removal of the IR-cut(off) filter came to be so significant, it provided a symbolic act for removing the human dominance in perceiving, and in some ways relived the digital camera of this filtered restriction, restoring it to what may be speculated as its more 'natural' vision, and opened up an extended electromagnetic range.

 

The removal of the filter and reconstruction of the camera revealed images that opened up a perspective beyond the human perceivable electromagnetic light range, and into the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum (Visual Spectrum + Infrared). This turns the attention towards a collaborative perception of human and camera working together produce a new enchanting capturing of our environment, providing greater intrigue and attention towards the ecology which in the images becomes so prominent due to the nature of the chlorophyll in leaves which reflects the majority of the IR.

 

x Leaf and IR diagram x

 

Consequently, leading us to suppose that the capture and image preference is towards plants, leaves, and trees.

 

 

 

Ultimately, the research project a tool for a post-anthropocentric envisioning utilised techniques from infrared photography and draws them into design, in order to conceptualise, theorise, and visualise settings for an extended perception, that with human-camera collaboration draws focus and attention to the ecological non-human, plants, fungi and alike.

 

 

 

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- last updated Oct. 5, 2020 -