lab for

by Miche O’higgins

Clumsy Clickwork  

Digital, labour, body 

Final year BA project 

Clumsy Clickwork was a year-long project researching and prototyping playful ways of designing movement into digital interactions.

Captcha Experiments 

As AI gets progressively smarter, captchas forms will no longer be an accurate human-machine gatekeeper. This mini-project imagines what uniquely human characteristics websites might begin to require for admission. A smile? A droplet of sweat? A tear! What makes humans human?

A series of ambiguous and subjective captcha forms, made in wood and
coded as an interactive web installation.

Interactive webcam poem  

Wooden captcha form 

The Treadmill

Beginning the collate the experiments, into a fully body operated computer interface. 

The treadmill leans on research done into the world of crowdsourcing and micro-labour that machine learning still largely relies on. It is labour that requires the workers to move with industrial efficiency as they are scored and paid based on their speed and accuracy. This clumsy contraption attempts bring attention to these labour intensive invisible systems with the excess and spectacle of a body in motion. Exaggerated beyond a twitching index finger, the movement required to operate this interface is exploded.

Clumsiness makes space for an excess that is not permitted by normative scheduling of techno-uptism that insists on perpetual optimisation of the body. How can we create devices that unsettle rather than perpetuate our priorities of the productive self?

These treadmill performances asks whether there are pockets of resistance to be found in movement and clumsiness. That perhaps in frivolous and excess motion we might begin to “define our bodies in ways that are non dependant on our capacity to function as labour power”1.

Project Text for “Hey Look Something is Happening” Book. Click for PDF

1. Beyond the Periphery of the Skin, Silvia Federici 2020