I still really like the design aspects of these artifacts and what their possibilities are. This group of people are developing and toying with these for art and research, however, the same technologies could be used for surveillance and I imagine these could eventually become skin embedded technologies. We questions artists less when they do this, but what if this were being done in a biology lab? Would we question more? Should we produce this art and do this type of techno science simply because we can?
Skin embedded technologies is something that deeply concerns me. On the one side it appears cool to have a hypermedia/technologically enhanced body and on the other, it could just become one more class differentiator, monitoring, control mechanism, the new plastic surgery avec technology. A new marketing technique that seems benign yet preys on ones biological inferiority or insecurities - not unlike buying breast implants for your 16 year old daughter to ensure her success in life or to buy that frail boy some added technological muscle. Freedom right?
Some accuse those who want to critically reflect on these technologies and their social implications as being bio-conservatives or neo-luddites. Irrespective of the name calling/labeling I think we really need to critically reflect about what we do with technology, how we use it, embed it and to consider the socio technological regimes and the politics behind their creation! This is more than just art! Technology is not politically neutral!
While I am ambivalent, I am still attracted to the artistic potential of these technologies and the questions these inspire. I am also a geographer. The emotional cartography folks have created a book that can be downloaded for free and I look forward to reading some of the articles!
Emotional Cartography - Technologies of the Self [emotionalcartography.net] is a collection of essays from artists, designers, psycho-geographers, cultural researchers, futurologists and neuroscientists, brought together by Christian Nold, to explore the political, social and cultural implications of visualizing intimate biometric data and emotional experiences using technology. The theme of this collection of essays is to investigate the apparent desire for technologies to map emotion, using a variety of different approaches.