This Machine Impersonates Humans, Whispers Warmly In Your Ear

April 15, 2014 | Marina Galperina

The Illusion of Life is an experimental biotech art project by Minsu Kim. It looks like a synthetic breathing machine. It has a central round air chamber, silicon air valves, and a cup that funnels air into your ear, just so. There are also control units that modulate the qualities of its “breath” and “vocalizations.” Neural Magazine explains:

The work… investigates a mode of communication by impersonating the respiratory system of a human being. It simulates whispers, subtle nuances of breath such as warmth, humidity and scent, as well as vocal qualities. These whispers and vocal expressions are imbued with specific subtleties in order to convey emotive states such as confidentiality, tenderness and feeling threatened.

These sensory human-machine interactions are eerily specific. Minsu Kim explains how his project…

…aims to explore a fundamental aspect of what it means to be alive when technology starts to replicate it beyond practical physicality, and how people would perceive the betrayal of the senses where the cognitive presence is not generated from life-forms, but from the machine materialised by un-seemingly non-human, dry and rigid hardware.

Welcome to the future.

(Images: Minsu Kim)