Brian House is an artist whose performances, installations, and interventions address the rhythms of bodies in contact with computation. His work has been shown by MoMA (NYC), MOCA (LA), Ars Electronica, Transmediale, ZKM, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Tel Aviv Center for Contemporary Art, Eyebeam, and Rhizome, among others, and has been featured in publications including WIRED, TIME, The New York Times, Neural, Metropolis, and on Univision Sports. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Brown University.
I would like to talk about an ongoing research project that involves designing networks for non-humans. In short, I've been working with a small team including a biologist, a journalist, and a couple of technologists to develop a behavior-tracking collar for NYC street rats. It transmits over 802.11 and takes advantage of low-power and low-cost biometric technologies recently developed for (human) consumer devices, but of course adapting that to the murine experience involves rethinking both hardware and networks around their particular ethological concerns. There's a lot of compelling theory out there about animal representations and practices that burrow through the false nature/culture divide, and rats, of course, intimately and infamously cohabitate with us in NYC along with their rich mythos of disease and capitalism. To that end, the larger goals of the project propose a "minor data science" in which observation of the other is intentionally intertwined with one's own rhythms, and personal relationships with rats stand in for the larger renegotiation of our place in a not-just-human world. Networks in multiple senses of the term are thus central to the project, and I'll trace these connections and hopefully invite some discussion.