Body language, Non-verbal Communication and Surveillance

The theme of this research is Body language and Non-verbal communication that focuses on the interaction between individuals based on where the communication takes place, the physical attributes of the communicators, the behaviors of communicators during the interaction, and external provocations of the physical characteristics.

About the research

This research through design project is a study of body language and non-verbal communication that touches upon five foundations of research practice. Impulse – Acting on an initial stimulus and having the freedom to explore. Investigation – Filtering that stimulus through a variety of lenses related to tone, messaging, audience, and implication; streamlining and parsing through information. Sequencing – Hybridizing outcomes to begin thinking about layered narratives or ordered systems. Synthesis – Hybridizing ideas to form theories; generating a concise thesis statement encapsulating the core message that should be delivered to an audience. Form – Developing layered work that is rooted in deeper meaning and, thus, can touch a wider audience. 

The study is split into two parts, Part A and Part B, generating two visual matrices, lens-based and of oppositional strategies. 

The study is split into two parts, Part A and Part B, generating two visual matrices, lens-based and of oppositional strategies. The two parts are organized in multiple layers of interpretation and meaning behind analytical visual research, spectrum visual research, and framework visual research with narrative hybridity. Part A takes its information from popular understandings and culture while Part B is a counterpart to all the findings of Part A. 

Frame work definitions for the visual Matrices - Private: self, hidden. Public: shared, communal. Institutional: governance. Commercial: branded commodity. Global: reductive, accessible. Objective: unbiased, specimen. Analytical: diagrammatical, dissected. Stereotypical: heightened. Idealized: technological, high-tech, perfected Allegorical: symbolic. Personal: Subjective. 

Part A + Part B detailed Synthesis Maps document.

Part A

Part B

Synthesis Maps ︎

Governed and Independent - Map A; from part A

Based on analyzing the information collected in the Part A matrix, I noticed a pattern where the Body Language and Non-Verbal Communication changed according to a person's emotions or surroundings. It differed when selling a commercial product or when the person is in a new environemnt, varied cultures, or by responding to external stimuli. I generated a simplified synthesis Map by performing my body movements and emphasizing on the actions that ‘Governed and Independent’ by external articles.

 Abstract map B - from part B

For the Synthesis Map B, I developed a theoretical technique to imitate Body Languages, and Human Interactions captured in photographs into what would look like a Computer's vision. Part B's findings had an emphasis on surveillance cameras, image recognition technologies, and systems that use body language and non-verbal communication to understand complex issues. Considering Map A as a counterpoint, Map B rules out the human touch and complexity of perception. I recreated Photographs from gatherings in different spaces and interactions into conceptual visualizations with pre-defined rules.

Meta-narrative response - from A and B

This meta-narrative is a speculative concept inspired by the Synthesis Maps that show the relevance of body language, its presence in different situations and technologies that recognize these patterns. This video shows a scenario where private information based on body movements is collected, organized, and analyzed through repeated patterns and eventually disrupting this medium.

The actor in the video wets her lips, the system detects the body language and connects this behavior to the person being thirsty. This scenario prompts the system to advertise
a soda drink or Starbucks coffee on their device. A pair of glasses worn by the actor destructs this cycle, making her invisible to the system.

Disrupting Surveillance - Speculative future.