Natalie Jeremijenko
Natalie Jeremijenko
Sniffer Dogs

view the online prototype here
BUREAU RELEASE: Public Release of feral robotic sniffer dog: MegaByte 2. Codename: Sniffer Dogs

The proposal is to develop a 'hobbyist' kit for the adaptation of commercially available robotic dog toys. The adaptation kit will include a sensor, data collector and path following behavior, such that the movements of the dogs will follow concentration gradients of the parameter being sensed. The dogs will behave as if they are sniffing out environmental toxins. Several of these dogs with low level communication, could expose the data of a small area effectively and quickly.

The proposed project is to build and deploy several prototypes of these adapted sniffer dogs and 'release' them in a particularly public site: e.g. shopping mall. This is intended to create a temporary spectacle in order to:
1) demonstrate that the movement of the dogs provides legible and immediate environmental information to a diverse audience;
2) arouse public interest in the kits ;
3) arouse public interest in the local environmental phenomena being sensed;
4) to demonstrate the viability of 'feral' data collection and empirical strategies for activist and cultural work

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Natalie Jeremijenko, 1999 Rockefeller Fellow, is an inventor and engineer whose work focuses on the design and analysis of tangible digital media. Her strength is the demonstrable ability to bridge between the technical worlds and the art world.

Jeremijenko's mission is to reclaim technology from the idealised, abstract concept of 'cyberspace' and apply it to the messy complexities of the real world, often with disquieting results. Her project Stump, a software programme which 'rewards' the user with a single tree ring every time a tree's worth of paper is used, building up to an entire tree stump, comments on our shared illusion that the digital world is somehow clean and 'paperless'. Neatly using technology to explore social realities, she shot a documentary of Silicon Valley from a remote-controlled spy plane, concealed cameras in teddy bears to record children's expressions and installed a motion detector near Golden Gate Bridge to count the number of suicides. Born in Australia, she is director of Yale University Engineering Design Lab and was recently named one of the MIT Technology Review's top 100 young innovators. She has worked in research and development at Xerox Park, the Advanced Computer Graphic Centre and the Centre for Advanced Technology, New York University. Her current projects include One Tree, which will feature the planting of 2,000 walnut trees in sensor-equipped planters around the San Francisco Bay Area next year. The condition of the growing trees will reflect the region's surprising discrepancies in climatic, environmental and socio-economic conditions reminding us that Silicone Valley is home to a large concentration of toxic waste sites, and has one of the USA's biggest gaps between rich and poor.

Her work has been included in media festivals, and Museums throughout Europe and America including the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Museum Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, the Whitney Biennial '97, Documenta '97 and Ars Electronic prix '96.


Click here to view the project proposal PDF.

Click here to view the project website.