mi/e-metic self – Building a slave to the digital media’s consumer culture

Created by Saurabh Datta, ‘mi/e-metic self’ is an installation that represents a sculptural being, a memetic representation of an evolved us. Inspired by the work of Patricia S. Churchland on Neuro-Philosophy where she tries to explain the basic neuroscience by giving simplified analogies of different nervous systems to machine systems, Saurabh built an embodied installation, a metaphor, a form of a slave to the digital media’s consumer culture.

“Where today’s we are so much engulfed with digital services that we start behaving like machines. I have observed, in my own behaviour and many others that we get very easily succumbed and spend hours on these omni present digital services like, Instagram moments, TikTok [Douyin], WeChat moments, Whatsapp moments and others.” – Saurabh Datta

Typical process of engaging on social platforms look like [1] Watch content, [2] Think something, make a judgment, give a comment etc, [3] Move on to the next. On the mind layer, the machine consists of an optimised AI engine, running model to translate image/scene to text statements from an Intel NUC running Ubuntu Core. On the motor layer, representing action mechanism, it consist of a micro controller and motor with limits as an analogy to those of our own motor system.

And as for the social commentary and personal judgement handling part of the brain, it is represented a small single board computer (raspberry Pi4 connected neurally to the same nervous network of the brain, the NUC system). The thoughts and comments are then loosely visualised on a security CRT monitor by what Giphy’s nearest K means Algorithm returns from the scene statement it receives from the NUC side of the brain.

Hardware includes: Intel NUC, Raspberry PI 4, two VPN-ed routers, custom PCB with Arduino Pro micro, BNC CRT Colour monitor,  Custom Swiper mechanical design, Industrial Webcam and phone stands, Custom Offset display, Table Top Instrument Box. 

Software includes: Processing, Python, C [Arduino Side], DeepAI, Giphy API, NFS, MQTT, shell scripts, custom BIOS adjustments.

Project Page | Saurabh Datta

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