model credit Norman M. Klein

Embedded Technology and Our Mind

The pervasive network has long been recognized as the shared virtual space where everything is linked. What would happen if every object and space were also linked to the net cloud? With embedded and embodied technologies in real world, many believe that physical space will also have the aspects of a virtual environment. Cyberspace will no longer be considered merely as a parallel universe to our own. Rather the boundaries between the two worlds would be blurred and the conception of our surroundings would change drastically. This project focuses on exploring meanings of new technology in pervasive computing era. In his essay, McLuhan articulated his understanding of media and technology as extensions of the human body. If relationship between virtual and real space were similar to the connection between mind and body, what would interlinked virtuality and embedded technology mean to us? Could the new technology be acknowledged as extensions of our minds? I kept on asking these questions to myself while developing the project for The New Ecology of Things Research.

The Story

Norman M. Klein tells a strange story about a lock that can’t be picked. Suddenly, someone turns the key and a lock is triggered. Norman unconsciously stops talking, and his whole physical behavior becomes an extension of the lock system. The goal of the Keyhole Project is to raise interesting questions about the new technology that interlinks nonphysical world to our surroundings. Keyhole is used as a metaphor for window between virtual and self awareness. Triggering of locks that can’t be picked represent the technologies in analogue version of computers. In this puzzling story, nothing seems to make any sense, but here in this world, every objects become an interface that is interlinked with our mind.


After explaining my idea for the project, I did an interview with Norman M. Klein about his works, lock, and a story about cinema. I had the footage of an interview playing automatically in my Flash file. I also built a lock as an input device that would trigger a switch connected to the Make control. Each time the switch was triggered, a movie file controlled by Action Script would play and the original movie would be removed. The final output of the footage would be played in a plasma display at a location approximately 20 meters away from the input device. Input and output devices were connected remotely through network.

-2 MAKE control
-Physical Networking
-Flash Action Script 2.0


I thank Norman Klein, a cultural critic, and both an urban and media historian, as well as a novelist, for his wonderful stories and being the main character of this project. I also thank Sarah Kim, a very talented visual thinker and designer for early assistance in brain storming and constructive feedbacks.

Norman Klein's books include "The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory," "Seven Minutes: The Life and Death of the American Animated Cartoon," and the data/cinematic novel, "Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-86"

Sarah Kim is currently an interior designer at B&A Design Communication, South korea.