Due: Thursday, April 8 at 10:30am


We have begun this semester with the premise that evoking the feeling of presence using remote digital connections is possible. We have talked about two modes of telematic presence: ambient presence and directly interactive presence, distinguished by a passive or active mode of interaction. This presence we are calling a Proxy Body. A proxy is a temporary replacement for someone who is absent. We are asking you to make an Ambient Proxy Body for your self or another person, in a specific environment. You will be paired with a classmate in order to create this project and perform it.

The proxy body will communicate bidirectionally with a remote proxy via live transmission of digital data. In a sense, each proxy has two distinct purposes, as it is sensing and transmitting a local presence while receiving and performing a remote presence. The roles are symmetric, but the proxies do not necessarily need to be identical.

Each group member is then physically building the representation of their peer. But this does not need to be a literal representation, it could be a constructed, imagined or fictional representation. These choices may also create opportunities for a more general audience to inhabit the device.

When we have been separated from another person, we might have mementos that remind us of that person: a photograph, letters, books, clothes. These items can bring up memories of past experiences. If we had shared a space with the person, and they are now elsewhere, we may feel their absence through a lack of their familiar, routinized interactions, such as foot steps, chatter, doors opening and closing, their music playing, their presence in a chair, items moved from place to place because of their use, etc.

We may have very intentional interactions with this same person while they are afar through telephone, mail, video chat, social media. These interactions usually require ours and their focused attention, often mostly limited by the time availability we have to give that attention. Alternatively, a person’s actual general presence is often limited by space as well as time. Presence is a kind of simultaneous co-habitation of, or co-existance within, an environment. So how do we experience their general, ambient presence with us, even if they are afar?

This is the question at the center of the Ambient Proxy Body project.

Brainstorming question: What are the many kinds of relationships we might experience another’s presence within and how?

  • at home: roommates, friends, neighbors….
    • how: walking around apartment, seated in chairs….
  • at work: boss and employee, co-worker….
    • how: hovering, sitting next to you in office…..
  • at play: chess, dance party….
    • how: over a game board, in a crowded space….
  • at….?

Brainstorming question: Are there situations where you feel another’s remote presence already?

Brainstorming question: Is there a kind of presence you want to experience of someone who is absent?


Slideshow of Inspiration for Project 1


To create an experience of ambient presence of another person who is existing remotely from you.

To use the capabilities of live digital data exchange via the Circuit Playground and MQTT systems.

To utilize the pliable qualities of textiles as medium within this project. You are not limited to only using textiles.


Make: Create an Ambient Proxy Body that is remotely inhabited using live transmission of digital data back and forth between two locations.

Document: Create a video that shows the story of this Ambient Proxy Body. The images should be clear and easy to comprehend by other’s who do not already know your project.

Write: Create a blog post on the class website to share the video. In the post, write a few paragraphs on the following topics: describe your project (what was it’s intention? what was the resultant experience of it?); tell us what was was successful and unsuccessful in the project; tell us about ideas for the future that are inspired by this project.

Due: Tuesday, April 6 at 10:30am


  • Tenacity: Are you forging through difficult problems without giving up?
  • Execution: Are you crafting with purpose, precision, and attention?
  • Experimentation and Inventiveness: Are you discovering/exploring methods outside the obvious and predictable?
  • Fulfillment: Did you meet all of the requested supporting criteria (such as providing scans of sketches, categorizing your blog post correctly, documenting your projects, writing reflections, etc.)?