Afroditi Psarra is a multidisciplinary artist who bases a focus of electronic textiles (or “soft” circuits) and sound. She completed her PhD in Image, Technology and Design from the Complutense University of Madrid and is an assistant professor at the Center for Digital Arts & Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her rigorous research in Cyberpunk and New Media Art with focus on integrating science fiction ideas with performative and digital fields allows her to apply a humanistic approach to how technology is perceived and utilized.
In the lecture at Institute Systems Biology she introduces her work based on her believes that we will have to integrate and envision technologies as extensions of our body that enables us to live in a complicated and dynamic society that is increasingly digital. By partnering with other multidisciplinary artist Psarra is continuously exploring ways to interpret the “invisible” data that connects various aspects of society and how to allow people to be able to interact with and understand that “invisible” space of the world by creating smart e-textiles and “use technology to be used in a more human way” (Psarra, in the lecture). One of her most recent works is called Cosmic Bitcasting a collaboration with Cécile Lapoire to create a wearable cosmic ray detector which communicates the “invisible” information that is embedded in the space around us. The attire created would respond to the gamma radiation, X-rays, alpha and beta particles that are passing through the person’s body by using a series of light and vibrations.
The process of her work is documented on her website which shows the experimentation and coding of the Arduino modules she used to detect the rays and how she translates that data to soft circuits and finally to fabric.
Psarra’s work inspires us to rethink of technology, providing a different, often a sense of fictional sci-fi sensibility to her work that gets people who view and experience her work to be excited and engaged because working with textile is something very common in our daily lives. The integration and making them more digitally compatible will do more than just becoming an extension of our bodies, but also become a medium that connects us to the digital world and the digital world to the realm of the tangible.