A robot with no function, a somewhat strange apparatus, that calms us in stressful situations, and another one, that allows us to smell the CO2 content in the air—the "machines" by the designer Susanna Hertrich solve "complex human dilemmas", mostly with a wink. Sometimes they only promise. They tell what an alternative world could look like and they repeatedly confront new technologies, what they trigger, how they function socially.
Automated Anchoring Armour and the series Prothesis for Instincts oscillate between artistic hypothesis and scientific experiment. AAA is worn on the body like a suit of armour. As soon as the biosensor registers rising stress levels on the palm, a part of the device taps continuously on the forearm, triggering a positive memory, for which a psychological anchor was previously set. Who wouldn't want to remain calm in the most precarious situations? With Prothesis for Instincts, Hertrich considers existing technologies further. As an electronic extension of the human body, these individual objects make it possible for us to "feel" abstract data similar to our natural sensory perception.
We have lost some sensory abilities—such as the flehmen response, that targeted scents according to specific odours—in the course of evolution, because we apparently no longer need them in our highly industrialised world. Or do we? How would we perceive our cities if we could extend our sense of smell with an apparatus like Jacobson's Fabulous Olfactometer and smell the CO2 content in the air?
Susanne Hertrich (born 1973) received her master's degree at the Royal College of Art, London and the diploma at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf. From 2002–2006 she has been associate professor at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway. Research fellowships at the Design Research Lab, University of the Arts Berlin, Meta Perception Research Group, University of Tokyo, Intel People & Practices Group, US. She received funding i.a. by Goethe Institute, German Federal Cultural Foundation and Schering Foundation. Her works are exhibited internationally. www.susannahertrich.com
The strange “machines” of design researcher Susanna Hertrich.