BRAINCOAT

Media component of exposition pavilion

Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland

2002

The “braincoat” is a smart raincoat that, in combination with a proxi-communications network, creates a new form of “social radar.” As the visitor in the fog environment is deprived of visual clues typically used to gauge the physical environment and social relations, the braincoat acts as a prosthetic skin that receives and broadcasts signals. All visitors arrive at the LogIn station at the base of the Blur entrance ramp and fill in a questionnaire, conceived with writer Douglas Cooper. The transceiver embedded in each braincoat has an imprint of the visitor’s response profile that enables the coats to communicate in the fog. With the aid of a clustering program used for web profiling, visitors’ profiles are compared and evaluated by establishing correlations among the range of questions. As visitors pass one another, their coats compare character profiles and create an involuntary reaction. The chest panel of the braincoat displays a diffused colored light, the color indicating the degree of affinity or antipathy, much like blushing from embarrassment or blanching from shock. The color range is coded so that a shift toward cool blue-green represents antipathy and a shift toward warm red, affinity. A small vibrating pad is located in the rear pockets. When two perfectly matched visitors encounter one another in the fog, a vibration excites the buttocks. (unrealized)

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