Taking My Shoe For A Walk is an installation and representation of the manifesto “I don’t want to be a number” by Bianca Schick. The project comes from a research on wearable self-tracking devices and apps that focus on exploring how these technologies modify and condition the communication with our own body.

Research, concept and installation: Bianca Schick
Graphic Design: Bianca Schick, Alex Foradori
Video and animation: Bianca Schick, Alex Foradori

The installation reproduces a room covered with posters taken from the manifesto mentioned above. The objects inside the room are a sofa, a foot massager, and a reproduction of a silicon running shoe used as a swing and simultaneously as a phone holder. I programmed my phone with an app that has access to my mobile sensors and chose to focus on the accelerometer sensor that can count how many steps you take each day, converting recorded motion into data. By swinging the shoe, my phone’s motion sensor reacts to the swing and sends this information (wirelessly) to a vibrating foot massager programmed with Arduino. While the shoe is swinging and my step counter records irrational numbers, I can sit, observe, relax, and get a foot massage. Once the swing stops, the foot massager stops vibrating. The simple swinging action reverses the aim and function of self-tracking into a gesture of resistance and refusal.

The objects of this project aim at engaging the participant in an exercise of slowness and relaxation. The experiment’s central rationale is that self-tracking technologies that foster disembodied logic should remain in the machine’s realm and not used on our bodies.