Saskia Drebes

Juli / July - 2018

Kunsthochschule Kassel


BRB tends to transform data stream into a sensory experience. A so called data body describes our expansion into the digitale. The physical body is shielded with sensory receptors, thus we are able to capture contacts. The data body is left alone without any sense, no awareness of any touch.

What is the Topic?

Personal privacy has been massively transformed by digitisation. Formerly a explicit differentiation between inside|outside, invisible|visible, private|public, offline|online was possible but today this opponents blur increasingly. More and more technology infiltrates our most private spheres. With this trend a culture of unlimited publication_release_disclosure goes along and loosely people reveal most private informations just for likes and attention. Thus a huge instrument of power evolves which can be used against the producer of the data. The proposed thesis: If we could feel our data body just as well as our physical body we woulnd´t act that extroverted.

Why does it look like this?

This project lives on the participation of most diverse test persons and their opinion relating to the idea of a data body. As the current discourse is affected by negative context and media, BRB aims to design an alternative draft. Designing a lollipop is a affirmative answer and invites to become part of the experiment. Because the mouth has never been used as an interface between body and technology, it seem to be untroubled by connotation as well as the lollipop is semantically untroubled. Human test subjects introduce the object into their bodys without a feeling of vulgarity.

What is special?

The Lollipop is designed for exhibition situations in which visitors can dare the self-experiment and become be part of a participative performance. First the personal data profile is designed by using basic data (name, adress, day of birth, place of birth, mobile phone number), uploaded onto a microprocessor and after that placed in the special lollipop. Whenever something (maybe an algorithms, observer etc.) touches the data body, the device vibrates briefly. People which produce a lot of data and traffic will feel a lot of activities accordingly. The project aims to start a debate about informational privacy and the existence of the data body. Where people usually deny dealing with protection of data privacy, they want to in this playful context and the abstract idea of data becomes more understandable. By participating in the event of EXAMEN 2018 (Kassel) 400 people took part in the experiment.

What is new?

Data is translated into vibrations. The otherwise abstract structure of data gathering, data handling and data transfer can be communicated to almost anybody and a wide-ranging discussion on all the aspects of self-determination can take place. Compared to other stimuli (like visual, auditive or olfactory) vibrations are perceptual by most people. Usually protection of data privacy is discussed in the context of data manipulation, data hijacking, phishing, and other insidious scams. BRB tries to design an easy access aside polemic and fear-mongering.