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Diana Lengua

Updated: Jan 4

Diana Lengua is a human being who conducts speculative research on interactive dimensions, exploring emerging future scenarios in spatial computing. They hold an MA in Philosophy from the University of Milan and an MA in Culture Industry from Goldsmith University of London. Currently, she is completing her doctoral project at the University of Essex on Human-Computer Interaction, embodied internet, and situated experiences in virtual spaces.


It was during research on sensory prosthetics at MIT that Norbert Wiener began prototyping the hearing glove as a device for turning speech into vibrations, comprehensible to deaf people, based on the assumption of the possibility to exploit unoccupied channels of the nervous system and therefore develop a new way of perceiving. In "Some problems in sensory prosthesis" J. Wiesner, N. Wiener, and L. Levine proclaimed the importance of investigating the presence of any unused channels in the human nervous system capable of supplying the whole or any part of what is lost in the sensory system. Hearing gloves were an attempt not to re-simulate hearing but to shift the function of hearing to other senses and to export cognitive functions to external technology by imagining an autonomous form of perception capable of producing new kinds of experience.

We have not strayed so far from the idea of exponential technological progress regulating the design of prosthetic objects capable of giving rise to new ways of perceiving, as we contemplate Apple's latest keynote (Here. Anno Domini 2023). Amidst the landscape of unfulfilled broken metaverse ambitions, enigmatic start-up acquisitions, and an ongoing cycle of mundane -but always the same- virtual reality headset designs, there is a space that I would call the emergence of a series of new perceptual acts. A technique of the percipient that expands from synaesthetic and paraesthetic engagement to the creation of computational and neural spaces autonomous from human agency. Perceptual acts are intended here as an outflow from intentional cognitive activity in a spectrum that falls from what has been defined by Katherine Hayles as cognitive nonconscious. The development of computational and neural spaces autonomous from human agency introduces the possibility to speak about different perceptual acts. This expansion of perceptual modalities can become the norm that underlies immersive technologies, shaping how we interact and engage with digital environments. Increasing media transparency leads us to consider nonconscious perception as a possible interaction with the digital, a collapse of sensory exchange in which simulation will continue to exist only as stimulation.  The proposal is a timeless short story, a perpetually present descriptive act. Names and places have been altered, and bibliographic references omitted, not for privacy reasons, but for pseudo-artistic purposes.

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