Emotional Organs, and the first prototype

November 24, 2007

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n the process of discussion, we returned again to the idea of human organs as having emotional connotations, in both traditional Chinese medicine’s school of thought, and in a variety of other contexts. I brought up the Greco-Roman notion of ‘Four Humours’ – simply put, the idea that human emotions and conditions were caused by certain bodily fluids, which needed to be kept in balance. We get the phrase “venting one’s spleen” from this, as well as the adjectives “melancholic, “sanguine”, “choleric” and “phlegmatic”.

We (I think it was Aram , really) hit upon the idea of personal representations of the body’s organs and their related behaviours. Performing acupuncture on a model could alter the condition of a represented individual on a screen. I thought that perhaps the array of organ-people could be arranged according to their corresponding placement in the actual bodily (this could be achieved by arranging video windows on a screen, or, Nam June Paik-style, by stacking monitors on top of each other).

After being excited by this idea, we went and made our first prototype: it’s a store-bought mask of a face, on which Aram drew the appropriate points and characters. We then connected a simple digital plug switch at a crucial intersection (a point in the middle of the forehead), and this fed into a Processing window, which showed a ‘Sad Aram’ switching to ‘Happy Aram’ when our ‘needle’ was applied.

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