Stacey Pitsillides with body>data>space
Donate Yourself is an Augmented Reality experience created by artist Stacey Pitsillides with body>data>space. It blends sound and 3D visuals to spark debates about our organs, tissue and body data, accessed by the public through augmented reality via QR codes.
This new work can be encountered in several ways. It will premiere as a walking tour around the Ouseburn Valley area of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK (29th October – 30th November). There, on this trail of five locations, you will find the Donate Yourself banners and, by scanning the QR codes on these banners with your mobile phone and listening to the audio stories, you will take part in an inspirational journey.
The digital objects that you encounter will be seen through your phone imposed on the landscapes behind and, with the audio in your ears, stories of care, trust, immortality, consent and futures will unfold, exploring the important role our bodies play in scientific discovery.
Each experience questions how we see our body after death; as a collective source of knowledge for humanity, as a material to explore our biological make up, or even as a way of immortalising ourselves in cells.
These AR sound and visual objects examine diverse perspectives on what donating parts of yourself mean to different people. See lungs breathing posthumous digital data, view eyes blooming up above us and neurons radiating from a petri dish, hear the unfolding audio stories as you walk, imposed on the real world around you.
What role can our bodies play in scientific discovery?
Could we see ourselves as a collection of cells?
Does donating organs or tissue make you immortal?
This sci-art project shares artistic interpretations of scientific imagery with the audience, from interviews with experts from the Human Cell Atlas research initiative and visual/written data from a series of artists workshops which are expanded through this unique digital experience. Gathered from a range of communities Stacey Pitsillides and body>data>space have created this Augmented Reality experience to help us all consider the legacy of our bodies in this digital age.
Dr Stacey Pitsillides is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Design at Northumbria University. With a background in design and communication, her research inquiries into how co-design can engage publics to speculatively explore their own mortality and legacy. Through a mix of ethnography, cultural probes and participatory design methods, she has collaborated with hospices, festivals, libraries and galleries to curate a range of interactive events aimed at specific communities e.g. tech innovators, educators and bereaved family members. This has resulted in a range of publications on death, creativity and technology alongside her practice, which has been featured in festivals like FutureFest and DesignTO, Toronto. She is a member of the body>data>space interaction design collective.
body>data>space is a collective of artists and designers engaged in creating fascinating connections between performance, architecture, new media and virtual worlds. Using their own collaboration methodologies and networked creation processes, the group visions the future of the human body and its real-time relationship to evolving global, social and technological shifts. The project Donate Yourself is based within the body>data>space AR Gifting Development Project by supported by Innovate UK and the University of Greenwich 2020-21.
Donate Yourself – Commissioned by One Cell At A Time, funded by Wellcome and led by the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
It has been designed and creatively directed by Stacey Pitsillides in collaboration with the interaction design collective body>data>space.
The digital AR experience has been co-created with the body>data>space team: Ghislaine Boddington (Creative Co-Direction), Tadej Vindis (Project Development and Production), Nick Rothwell (Sound Design and Technical Development) and Ivor Diosi (AR Development and 3D Animation).
Commission Producers – Suzy O’Hara and Dominic Smith, with research and insights from Holly Standing and Luke Sellers. Donate Yourself is produced by Dominic Smith. The AR experience and website incorporates visual and written data from a series of artist workshops and interviews with experts from the Human Cell Atlas project. Special thanks to Alice and Tim from TL Multimedia Limited for producing the voice recordings.