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Gender Swap
January 21, 2014 5:45 PM   Subscribe

Gender Swap - Experiment with The Machine to be Another. "Gender Swap is an experiment that uses The Machine to be Another system as a platform for embodiment experience (a neuroscience technique in which users can feel themselves like if they were in a different body). In order to create the brain illusion we use the immersive Head Mounted Display Oculus Rift, and first-person cameras. To create this perception, both users have to syncronize their movements. If one does not correspond to the movement of the other, the embodiment experience does not work. It means that both users have to constantly agree on every movement they make. Throughout this experiment, we aim to investigate issues like Gender Identity, Queer Theory, feminist technoscience, Intimacy and Mutual Respect." [NSFW, Via]
posted by homunculus (23 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
What is "feminist technoscience"?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:50 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Feminist technoscience.
posted by homunculus at 5:54 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Now that is seriously interesting stuff.

I have to say that the mirror in the experiment would probably be pretty jarring - look in the mirror and see the reflection of the other person. I'd be curious to hear from the participants to hear what it felt like.
posted by jquinby at 6:08 PM on January 21


This looks neat! I'd be very curious to read first-person accounts by the participants.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:16 PM on January 21


(lifts hand, looks at Greg Nog in the mirror)
posted by jquinby at 6:19 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


That's some awesome high electronic weirdness. I was thinking about this the other day, thinking that if you combine advances in procedural environmental simulations, 3d graphics, Kinect motion tracking, and 3d displays, we're going to see software pretty soon that's just 'live another life'. You'll be able to download '22 year old medical intern' and '30 year old travel photographer' and just walk around in their virtual shoes. It's going to be weird.
posted by jeffkramer at 6:20 PM on January 21 [3 favorites]


I have to say that the mirror in the experiment would probably be pretty jarring - look in the mirror and see the reflection of the other person. I'd be curious to hear from the participants to hear what it felt like.

70's Conceptual artist Dan Graham used to do a lot of crazy stuff with mirrors and glass and cameras. There was a retrospective at LA's MOCA a couple years back. One of the pieces was an arrangement of cameras and one way mirrors such that the "reflection" you saw in the mirror was a video recording of you several seconds ago.

What did that feel like? Identity destroying.
posted by notyou at 7:10 PM on January 21 [6 favorites]


'22 year old medical intern' and '30 year old travel photographer'

So pedestrian.

I want to be a bird.
posted by notyou at 7:12 PM on January 21 [3 favorites]


"You'll be able to download '22 year old medical intern' and '30 year old travel photographer' and just walk around in their virtual shoes. It's going to be weird."

Then I'd finally be able to prove my supposition that 90 percent of any other person's life is boring as shit.
posted by klangklangston at 7:38 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


This is a low tech way of doing it. A higher tech way would be to have software generate the body seen in the Oculus. Then the movements that you see would more accurately and quickly match what you are doing.

Then you could have two people in the environment, talking to each other, and seeing each other...kind of a holodeck where it can change your perception of yourself too.

Now that would be fun. But as fast as our computers and networks have become, they are probably way too slow and underpowered to be able to pull this off well.


Unless...we have pulled it off, and your whole life is an illusion that you'll come out of when the game is over. I wonder what we really look like?
posted by eye of newt at 7:39 PM on January 21


I'm skipping straight to someone else pretending to be a bird.

I assume she is like that at all times.
posted by squinty at 7:41 PM on January 21


Call me when they invent the Empathy Box.
posted by sarastro at 2:58 AM on January 22


Gender Swap is an experiment that uses The Machine to be Another system as a platform for embodiment experience

Internal Server Error is an experience?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:13 AM on January 22


> I want to be a bird.

In one of John Crowley's novels (Little, Big, I'm pretty sure) there were electronic helmets you could wear that contained the consciousness of another person you could assume and experience. And (more interesting to me) an early test model that turned you into a cat.
posted by jfuller at 6:41 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


I would love to see this taken outside of the lab, and into people's everyday lives. The mimicry aspect would be lost since there wouldn't be a 1:1 correspondence between peoples' environments. But just imagine living through the first-person experiences of someone else, especially someone close to you. When futurists talk about VR changing the very nature of entertainment, I think this is part of what they're getting at.
posted by tybeet at 7:59 AM on January 22


This is a low tech way of doing it. A higher tech way would be to have software generate the body seen in the Oculus. Then the movements that you see would more accurately and quickly match what you are doing.
Then you could have two people in the environment, talking to each other, and seeing each other...kind of a holodeck where it can change your perception of yourself too.

I like that idea. But wear them out in the real world and just get the normal feed from in front of you, except it remaps your body (have small sensors at the end of your limbs,) as well as the body as anyone else wearing the system.

Like Second Life, but more Google Glass. It would be this weird mututal roleplay system and you'd look really fucking weird to anyone who saw you walking around with a giant thing strapped to your face and staring at your new hands while trying to shop for groceries.
posted by Theta States at 8:12 AM on January 22


One of my favorite movies ever was Strange Days, wherein there were these headsets that recorded a person's total sensory input, and it could be played back to another user, so they could effectively experience life as someone else for a brief time. This, predictably, was used in porn and all kinds of other things.

I am not so sure that something very similar is very far off now.
posted by polywomp at 9:04 AM on January 22


I had the exact same thought about Strange Days, polywomp. This is pretty damn awesome and I'd love to give it a go. Apparently the oculus is selling for $300 these days. That's not a bad deal to try something like this out.
posted by bfranklin at 11:49 AM on January 22


Thinking about films reminds me of the darker side of switching perspectives, like in this scene from City of Lost Children (3 minutes in).
posted by homunculus at 5:10 PM on January 22


In other Oculus Rift news: BlueShark: where the US Navy dreams up the battleship interfaces of tomorrow
posted by homunculus at 10:30 AM on January 26


Scratch a mirror image of your itch to bring relief
posted by homunculus at 4:39 PM on January 27


The Oculus Rift Put Me In Game of Thrones and It Made My Stomach Drop
posted by homunculus at 2:48 PM on January 28


You still can't tickle yourself, even if you swap bodies with another person
posted by homunculus at 1:26 PM on February 3


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