The Alien Staff: 3rd Variant is capable of
sensing and responding to hand and body gestures of the operator or interlocutors.
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Alien Staff: 3rd Variant
Krzysztof Wodiczko, Joshua Smith, Damian Isla, Physics and Media Group (MIT Media Lab), Brooklyn Model Works

The Alien Staff is a portable form of public-address equipment and cultural network for individuals and groups of immigrants. It is an instrument that gives the singular operator-immigrant a chance to "address" directly anyone in the city who may be attracted by the symbolic form of the equipment, by the character of the "broadcast" program, and by the live presence and performance of its owner.

The Alien Staff resembles the biblical shepherd's rod. It is equipped with a mini video monitor, and loudspeaker. A laptop computer, field sensing circuitry, and batteries are are located in a specially designed shoulder bag. The small size of the monitor, its eye-level location and its closeness to the operator's face are important aspects of the design. Since the small image on the screen may attract attention and provoke observers to come very close to the monitor and therefore to the operator's face, the usual distance between the immigrant, the stranger, will decrease. Upon closer examination, it will become clear that the image on the face of the screen and the actual face of the person are of the same immigrant. The double presence in "media" and "life" invites a new perception of a stranger as "imagined" (a character on the screen) of as "experienced" (an actor off-stage---a real life person). Since both the imagination and the experience of the view are increasing with the decreasing distance, while the program itself reveals unexpected aspects of the alien's experience, his or her presence become both legitimate and real. This change in distance and perception might provide the ground for greater respect and self-respect, and become an inspiration for crossing the boundary between a stranger and a non-stranger.