Mona Hedayati. Eventing Human-Machine Affectivity: Listen, Eat, Repeat

Having been successfully integrated into the capitalist surveillance machinery, emotion recognition technologies rely on the logic of quantification and classification of emotions. The departure point of this paper is precisely the reductionist approach of these technologies that fit affective states and emotions within the information-processing schemes, discounting their complex dynamism, context-dependency, and socio-cultural dimensions, among other nuanced qualities. By using my ongoing artistic research project as a case study, I will demonstrate how I integrated the basic principles of these technologies towards designing socially-engaged multisensory experiences centered on complex affective states reflecting my lived experience of exile as an irreducible socio-political phenomenon. In doing so, the project relies on two levels of engagement with the audience. The core atmospheric environment is a bimodal sensor-to-sound workflow that allows for a sonic feedback loop between my affective states and those of the audience for a durational reciprocity, which then ties in with a multimodal sensory experience afforded by the sociality of food. As such, the project simultaneously relies on the atmospheric and grounding capacities of sound and taste to put forth a durational experience relying on the one hand on machine-generated live data and on the other, materiality, corporeality, and sociality facilitated by food, affectivity, and collective engagement. The presentation ends with a five minute lecture-performance that takes the audience on a journey showcasing such differential levels of engagement.

Mona Hedayati is an Iranian-Canadian artist-researcher and a joint PhD candidate in interdisciplinary humanities at Concordia University, Canada and the digital arts doctorate program at Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts, Belgium. Her interdisciplinary research-creation draws on computation arts, posthumanism, and affect studies. She has a BA in translation studies, an MFA in digital media and an MRes in social-political art and design. Hedayati has exhibited and presented her work internationally and across Canada at institutions such as the Slade School of Fine Arts, the University of Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery and the University of St Andrews in the UK.