Hasso-Plattner-Institut
Prof. Dr. Patrick Baudisch
  
 

Ad Infinitum: a parasite that lives off human energy

Ad infinitum is a parasitical entity which lives off human energy. It lives untethered and off the grid. This parasite reverses the dominant role that mankind has with respect to technologies: the parasite shifts humans from "users" to "used".

Ad infinitum co-exists in our world by parasitically attaching electrodes onto the human visitors and harvesting their kinetic energy by electrically persuading them to move their muscles.

The only way a visitor can be freed is by seducing another visitor to sit on the opposite chair and take their place.

Being trapped in the parasite’s cuffs means getting our muscles electrically stimulated in order to perform a cranking motion as to feed it our kinetic energy. This reminds us that, in the cusp of artificially thinking machines, we are no longer just “users”; the shock we feel in our muscles, the involuntary gesture, acknowledges our intricate relationship to uncanny technological realm around us.

Artistic & Research Framing

Ad infinitum is a machine on top of a human. While interacting with it you experience the shift from user to used, this question arose from the Pedro's own line of research in Interactive Systems based on Electrical Muscle Stiulation. In Pedro's research, instead of envisioning technological dystopias based on the divide between human and machine, the working prototypes demonstrate the interface and the human becoming closer, blurred, increasingly physical and intimate.

Visitor's reactions (at Science Gallery Dublin, 2017)

Artists

Artists left-to-right: Patrick Baudisch, Pedro Lopes, Alexandra Ion, Robert Kovacs and David Lindlbauer (not in photo).

Stand-alone & interactive installation: custom electronics, steel, battery, energy harvesting dynamos, motors, electrical muscle stimulation units, micro-controllers, pressure sensors, electrodes, CNC’d acrylic, copper tape.

Production Date: 2016

Exhibitions

Science Gallery Dublin (February 2017 – May 2017)

Natural History Museum Bern (9th September 2016)

Press Photos

All pictures in this webpage were taken by Arthur Silber, 2017. Here you can get hi-res imagery of our piece (as a .zip file).

If you want to read press articles, see more videos or hear an interview, it is all here

Acknowledgements

Astrid Thomschke, Roland Fischer, Hasso Plattner Institute & VIDA16 Incentive Award.