, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 167–176 | Cite as

Caracolomobile: affect in computer systems

  • Tania FragaEmail author
25th Anniversary Volume A Faustian Exchange: What is to be human in the era of Ubiquitous Technology?


This essay presents and reflects upon the construction of a few experimental artworks, among them Caracolomobile, that looks for poetic, aesthetic and functional possibilities to bring computer systems to the sensitive universe of human emotions, feelings and expressions. Modern and Contemporary Art have explored such qualities in unfathomable ways and nowadays is turning towards computer systems and their co-related technologies. This universe characterizes and is the focus of these experimental artworks; artworks dealing with entwined subjective and objective qualities, weaving perceptions, sensations and concepts. One of them, Caracolomobile, features an art installation creating a set up for an artificial robot that recognizes humans’ affective states and answers them with movements and sounds. The robot was installed over an artificial mirror lake in an open indigo-blue space surrounded by mirrors. It perceives and discriminates human emotional states and expressions using an interface developed with a non-intrusive neural headset (The neural headset used was developed by Emotiv Systems: Accessed 11 August 2011). This artwork raises questions and looks for answers inquiring about the preliminary steps for the creation of artefacts that would conduct one to poetically experiment with affect, emotion, sensations and feelings in computational systems. Other works in progress ask about the poetic possibilities of mixing computational autonomous processes and behavioural robotic procedures (Arkin 1998) to create artificial environments mixed with humans.


Contemporary art Computer art Affective computing Behavioural robotics Neural interface 



Caracolomobile team: Conception and design: Tania Fraga ( Headset programming (EmotivJ SDK): Pedro Garcia. Electronics and robotics: Daniel Villar. Musics and sounds: André Felipe Teperman. Craftsmanship: Hélio Vieira Melo. Documentation: Tania Fraga and Ricardo Botini. Voice: Andrea Fraga. Sponsoring: Itau Cultural Institute. Research grant: Sao Paulo Foundation for Research Support, FAPESP. Special thanks: School of Communication and Arts, University of Sao Paulo (ECA/USP), Physics Laboratory, Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Globalcode, TV Mackenzie, Emotiv Systems.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Mathematics and Art of Sao PauloSao PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Sao PauloBrazil

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