Media of the Day
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Wifi zine throwies shielded in self-made cases and charging in the sun. Photo from Solarpunk Workshop at FHNW in Basel last fall.

Emoji Proxies & Ghost Messengers

In an open and ongoing collaboration faciliated by the Institute of Network Cultures' Going Hybrid Consotrium, Hackers & Designers and The Hmm have been experimenting with live streams and network infrastructures for hybrid cultural events. In these experiments we made use of standalone WiFi hotspots (ESP32 modules) and live-networking protocols (MQTT and WebSockets) that allow online input (such as chat messages and emojis) posted on the Hmm's livestream platform to be translated into something physical, and vice versa.

role: concept, research, development, technical setup, workshop facilitation, documentation

These experiments are being collected, documented, and published under the umbrella term (and Github repository) Emoji Proxies & Ghost Messengers. This title refers to the Emoji-sending feature of the Hmm's livestream platform acting as a proxy to trigger commands, and ESP modules in the physical space taking on the role of spectral messengers of these commands.

To come up with more elaborate, contextualized, and generative experiments we eventually decided to open up the process by means of a public workshops. This invited other perspectives into the experiments and allowed for more collaborative thinking-by-doing. We developed four "boilerplate" experiments to start from. The first public workshop 'Emoji Proxies & Ghost Messengers', took place in November 2022 at Page Not Found in Den Haag and the sequel workshop took place at INC's In-Between Media conference in March 2023 at Framer Framed in Amsterdam.

The most recent development of the project is a working prototype for a hybrid scent diffuser. In 2021, in collaboration with artist Cesar Majorana, the Hmm has developped a scent that is intended to encapsulate the smell of the internet. For The Hmm's event on non-visual internet culture, we decided to incorporate the scent diffuser into the Hmm's livestream. That is, visitors participating in the event online through the Hmm's livestream platform had a dedicated emoji which they could use to trigger the connected Hmmosphere scent diffuser that sat at the phyiscal location of the event.

Demo of the Hmm Hybrid Hmmosphere