Mind in the Machine: Psyche in the Age of Mechanical Production

Imbued with traditions centuries old, to knit is to embody the work of our ancestors.   Unlike machines, we humans have unique quirks and tendencies, and this extends to our knitting.  With the proliferation of automation in factories, mass produced knits have standardized stitches that remove the mark of the maker.  

Automation has many functions, and plays a critical role in our technological advancement, but is it possible to imbue automation with something as intimate as the mark of a brushstroke?  This project tries to reinsert the emotional mark of the maker back into the machine. 

Taking the cognitive quirks of a human via their EEG signals, I translated these brain activities back into the knitting process.  Depending on the EEG signal- the tensility of the weaving with vary reflecting the mark of the “cognitive” hand.  Depending on the cognitive stress levels over a day of work, the tensility varies and the fabric ripples in empathy.  

This project stitches a portrait of the factory worker, through their fluctuating moods throughout the day- capturing moments of frustration, focus, and meditative work flow.  The resulting fabrics tell a story, and each one is unique to the worker and particular moment in time.

There are many ways humans express themselves- what does this expression look like in the age of mechanical production?  Is there a way to insert the mark of being human into the process?   This project offers a moment of reflection, for both the consumer and the worker to reflect on the labor- both mechanical and human involved in our economy.

 

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Data was captured from a period of work in the factory.   From the spectrogram you can see going from top to bottom the changes of brain activity over time, and from left to right, the range of frequencies captured, from Theta to Gamma.  Red indicates high activity, green medium, blue, lowest.  Delta and Theta waves towards the left are associated with sleeping, dreaming, and meditative states.  Alpha in the 7-15 Hz range is associated with relaxed states. Beta in the 13-30 Hz range is associated with Attention, and focus.  Gamma- 30 and above, are associated with hyper Alertness.

Data was captured from a period of work in the factory.   From the spectrogram you can see going from top to bottom the changes of brain activity over time, and from left to right, the range of frequencies captured, from Theta to Gamma.  Red indicates high activity, green medium, blue, lowest.  Delta and Theta waves towards the left are associated with sleeping, dreaming, and meditative states.  Alpha in the 7-15 Hz range is associated with relaxed states. Beta in the 13-30 Hz range is associated with Attention, and focus.  Gamma- 30 and above, are associated with hyper Alertness.

After taking the EEG samples from a day of working at the factory, the data is translated through the knitting software

After taking the EEG samples from a day of working at the factory, the data is translated through the knitting software

Depending on the EEG signal- the tensility of the weaving with vary reflecting the mark of the “cognitive” hand.  Depending on the cognitive stress levels over a day of work, the tensility varies and the fabric ripples in empathy.

Depending on the EEG signal- the tensility of the weaving with vary reflecting the mark of the “cognitive” hand.  Depending on the cognitive stress levels over a day of work, the tensility varies and the fabric ripples in empathy.

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