What It Is to Be Human

Project Description

In September 2017, I gave first year students a Behavior Performance project where they needed to research and develop a project on “What is it to be human?” In this project, we focused on the impact of machines on human behavior, identity and environment. First, I asked each student to make their own mind-map to respond to “What is to be human.”After that, each student must choose a technology-based research interest in relation to their individual mind-map. The collection of each student’s mind-map then formed the basis for an overall group performance of a cybernetic mechanism (a systematic mechanism based on computational logic) that incorporated all of the students’ maps and associated behaviors. The development of a calibrator and an environmental factor were added to the project as ‘triggers’ for each student to perform their own interpretation of a human “calibrator” within the larger cybernetic system. The output activity of each ‘calibrator’ performance was matched and linked with another student’s input activity of their calibrator. This created a domino-style input-output-feedback system within the collective performance. The students performed this work both at Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts and then at this year’s Ars Electronica Festivalin Linz Austria.

Production process of calibrator



Behavior performance

Project Details


Project Date:

April 24, 2020

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