NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism (NSAF) is a three-part exploration Hyphen-labs developed for the New Frontiers Lab at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017. The project explores and reimagines the future of black women through a lens of technology. In short, this is a digital narrative that sits at the intersection of speculative product design, virtual reality, neuroscience, and transhumanism—all disciplines that currently lack overarching representations and perspectives of women of color.
In NSAF, we have created a line of products for black women (ranging from sunblock for traveling through the multiverse, to earrings embedded with cameras that offer protection and visibility). We’ve also created an immersive virtual reality experience set in a Neurocosmetology lab where black women are pioneering techniques of brain optimization and cognitive enhancement, and finally, scientific research exploring the neurological and physiological impact of showing images of empowered black women.
NSAF has been shown at Sundance Film Festival- New Frontiers 2017, SXSW Art Program 2017, Tribeca Film Festival- Storyscapes 2017 (Jury Honorable Mention), Gray Area Art & Technology Festival, The People’s Film Festival 2017, School of the Art Institute of Chicago 2017, Rebuild Foundation 2017, The Current Museum, NewInc Fusion Festival, No Comission Art Fest Miami 2017, 29 Rooms: NYC + LA 2017.
Hyphen-Labs is an international team of women of color working at the intersection of technology, art, science, and the future. Through our global vision and unique perspectives we are driven to create meaningful and engaging ways to explore emotional, human-centered and speculative design. In the process we challenge conventions and stimulate conversations, placing collective needs and experiences at the center of evolving narratives.
Hyphen-Labs designs and builds robust transmedia experiences by combining new and old ideas, crafts and digital, physical, mediums ranging in scale from small products and prototypes to large architectural pavilions and installations. Through our creative practice and artistic commissions, we blend architecture, speculative and interactive design, digital arts, fashion, creative writing, and film through new media and emerging technologies.
Ece Tankal, Ashley Baccus-Clark and Carmen Aguilar y Wedge Artists in Residence at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) create large scale experiences and installations that explore design bias, accessibility, world-building, science fiction, and speculative futures. During the residency, Hyphen-Labs will develop the next phases of their ongoing work, NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, a three part digital narrative that sits at the intersection of product design, virtual reality, and neuroscience and explores the lack of multidimensional representations of Black and Brown women in technology and futurism.
In the next year, Hyphen-Labs will consult with faculty and students from the MIT Open Doc Lab and Media Lab focusing on co-creation, embodied cognition, designing objects, critical design, and developing digital disruptions in the speculative space. The overarching goals of this residency are developing new products, new chapters of the VR narrative, and continuing their research around implicit bias wherein they hope to explore what neural mechanisms are engaged during embodied experiences. Hyphen-Labs believes that understanding perception and the malleability of body representations is crucial for identifying the impact of new media and technology on implicit bias across the spectrum of identity.
Co-founder and Creative Director
Ece Tankal is a Turkish born designer and new media artist based in Barcelona. Ece is interested in exploring interventions and interaction related to bodily, spatial and temporal concepts through mixed media installations, virtual reality experiences and speculative design. Trained in architecture, her approach is to place the viewer as a natural extension of the micro and macro topographies created, expanding and stretching the reality we currently occupy. She is one of the co-founders of Hyphen-Labs, an interaction studio operating at the intersection of art and human interaction to craft experiences utilising emerging technological platforms.
Ashley Baccus-Clark is a Brooklyn-based Molecular and Cellular Biologist and multidisciplinary artist who uses new media and storytelling to explore themes of deep learning, cognition, memory, race, trauma, and systems of belief. She is the Director of Research at Hyphen-Labs, an international team of engineers, scientists, architects, and artists creating at the intersection of art and emerging technology.
Aguilar y Wedge
Co-founder and Creative Director
Aguilar y Wedge is a Latina structural engineer and artist synthesizing design and technology to develop immersive - transmedia experiences. She is a co-founder and creative director at Hyphen-Labs, an international studio specializing in the design of physical products, mixed reality experiences, and site specific installations that influence the evolution of digitalism and technology. Carmen is inspired by the tangibility of concepts translated into material expressions visualized through an aesthetic framework of science fiction, futurism, and surrealism her work expands on the principles of emotional and human centered design. Her work blends themes of supertech, humanity+, environmental and social issues through the context of architecture, robotics, virtual reality, fashion, computation, comparative new media, music, and smart materials, she and Hyphen-Labs are pushing the boundaries of speculative design and morphing global dynamics.