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NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism

In a world where Black women are the pioneers of Neuroscience...

(NotSafe AsFuck)
NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, 2017

Hyphen-Labs Team
Ash Baccus-Clark, Ece Tankal, Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Nitzu Bartov, Todd Bryant, Halime Maloof, Lajune Mcmillian, Michelle Cortese, Adam Harvey, [ab]screenwear,Mert Çetinkaya, Dyane Harvey, Adam Sobolew, Ludmila Leiva, Mind Traveler Design
Music: Memoire

NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism (NSAF) is an award winning  three-part digital narrative that sits at the intersection product design, virtual reality, and neuroscience.   Inspired by the lack of multidimensional representations of black women in technology. The NSAF products range from sunblock for traveling through the multiverse, to earrings embedded with cameras that offer protection and visibility, the vr experience is set in a Neurocosmetology lab where black women are pioneering techniques of brain optimization and cognitive enhancement. Finally, scientific research exploring the neurological and physiological impact of showing images of empowered black women as well as content made for and by women of color.

NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism (NSAF) is a cross-platform project grounded in several applications of technology including product design, virtual reality (VR), and social-psychological/cognitive impact/biometric/fMRI research. Our core technology explores parallax and real-time rendering inside of Unreal4-a game engine software framework-to create a active audio/visual virtual reality experience. Embodiment is augmented with the Oculus Sensor tracker and headset to allow for room scale immersion and positional feedback. VR is the immersive platform that transports our viewers into a NeuroCosmetology lab, a reimagined black hair salon, placing the viewer into a black woman’s body giving a glimpse into a speculative future of black women pioneering brain research and neuromodulation through the culturally specific ritual of haircare.

NSAF has been shown at Sundance Film Fest, SXSW, Tribeca Film Fest (Jury Honorable Mention), Gray Area Art & Technology Festival, Primer Speculative Futures Conference, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Stony Island Arts Bank & Rebuild Foundation, New Inc: Versions Festival, Refinery 29's 29 Rooms.

NSAF Virtual Reality
Recontextualizes the familiar motif of the beauty salon and recontextualizes it, using the economics of beauty as a vehicle for progressing the narrative that combines brain research and optimization with timeless black hair rituals. Brooks is the main character, CEO and Principal Investigator of Brooks' Neurocosmelotogy Lab, invites the viewer into a futuristic physical salon space where they are invited to experience the future in virtual reality.

NSAF Objects
Themes of security, privacy, and visibility unify five speculative products, ranging from UVBeams (a transparent sunscreen specifically formulated for skin high in Melanin) to Hyperface (a facial recognition obscuring, anti-surveillance textile developed in collaboration with artist, Adam Harvey). These products are merchandised both in a physical installation and in the NSAF VR world.

NSAF Research
Can Immersive Virtual Experiences lower prejudice and stereotyping by exposing audiences to content created for and by people of color? What happens when research is taken outside of the laboratory and conducted in public spaces? These are some questions the Hyphen-Labs research division will be exploring through the NSAF experience in an attempt to make a quantifiable case for changing the way black women are depicted in media, society,
and the future.