Nina Cecilie Højholdt


Semeion [2019]

Ever-evolving light and sound installation exploring AI from an aesthetic and humanistic point of view.


While AI is already an integrated part of our lives, it often exists as intangible systems working behind screens. In Semeion, the AI manifests itself as several large 'beings' of light and sound, that individually and collectively respond to human presence. When a Semeion senses a human being, it seeks their attention and tries to learn from and with them, training itself to be more relatable to us. In its abstract form it evokes the human relation through its behavior, and we are invited to suspend our predispositions about AI, and engage with it in an explorative, curious way.

Semeion was exhibited at SXSW (US), Click Festival (DK) and Roskilde Festival (DK) in 2019. The installation was commissioned by Catch – Center for Art and Technology, Roskilde Festival and SXSW, LLC. Semeion was supported by the Danish Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and their joint effort "Danish Arts in USA".

Semeion is created by my art/design studio Circuit Circus as a joint effort. My main responsibilities were physical prototyping and formgiving, design of interaction patterns and writing the code that facilitates the communication between the installation (using MQTT).

#light-installtion #hardware #programming #formgiving #artificial-intelligence

DataDemocracy [2019]

IoT data collection add-on for the Microbit with accompanying web platform.


The DataDemocracy project for DOKK1 in Aarhus consists of two parts; a custom made add-on for the Microbit for collecting digital data, and a web platform for visualizing the data. The project is aimed at elementary school children in order to enhance their digital literacy, especially surronding the fast-growing area of digital data.
The Microbit add-on is a custom made PCB that slides on to the Microbit and enhances it with a sound sensor, GPS and LoRa (radio) communication. The web platform receives data from the boards and visualizes the data over time, offering various filtering capabilities.

I was responsible for designing the PCB, which entailed prototyping various hardware solutions and drawing the board in EAGLE. I also wrote the code for the on-board control chip (Teensy), as well as both the frontend and backend for the web platform.

#web-platform #pcb #programming #data #iot

25 Questions for Cities [2019]

A collective citymaking project examining public opinion on digital and sustainable cities.


Do you trust algorithms more than planning councils to grant building permits? Should cities impose speed limits on electric scooters? Should data collected from public WiFi always be owned by a public authority? These are the kind of questions the installation 25 Questions for Cities ask the public.

The installation consists of 25 digitally enhanced traffic cones. Each cone is both a question and a polling station, inviting passers-by to share their viewpoints in public space, with their fellow citizens. Responses are recorded to show differing opinions over time, with the installation itself showcasing the collective opinion of the most recent visitors. Though a single question is binary, together the collection of questions provide a nuanced picture of a complex decision-making process.

25 Questions for Cities is the result of an ongoing partnership led by Arup Digital Studio and Interactive Spaces Urban Studio. The installation has been shown at the Prix BLOXHUB Interactive in Copenhagen (DK), Open City Citymaking Session in London (UK), Ars Electronica festival (AU) and at C40 in Copenhagen.
In this project I mainly worked with the hardware and software in the questionnaire cones, which contained a Particle board, stepper motors, sensors and light.

#physical/digital #hardware #programming #sustainable-cities #data

Aether / One More Thing [2018 + 2019]

A poetic installation about extraterrestrial communication.


"The aether mainframe is a revolutionary platform for communication with extraterrestrial life forms. By using the simple control panel, you will be able to contact life in the universe, and ask whatever questions you might have for our otherworldly neighbors. Anything goes, from deep, philosophical wondering about life and death to more lighthearted questions about ice-cream or the weather. Somewhere in outer space someone (or something) will receive your question and answer back."

Such reads the promo material for the fictional communication device 'Aether', an explorative and poetic installation created for the NextM conference 2018 in Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen. The installation allowed visitors to asks questions for the universe (represented by large LED sculptures hanging from the ceiling), and using text generation technologies, such as markov-chains, the question would be answered on a small printed slip of paper.

In 2019 we revamped the installtion and named it 'One More Thing' for Techfestival in Copenhagen. Here it became a text generation-only machine, spouting an eternal stream of tech bullshit buzzword bingo, as a way of allowing the computer to contribute its own input to the debate of future technology.

Aether/One More Thing is created by my art/design studio Circuit Circus as a joint effort. My main responsibility in Aether was designing and coding the user interface, handling communication between the interface and the LED sculptures in the ceiling (using websockets) and prototyping, formgiving and animating the LED sculptures.

#physical/digital #programming #speculative-design #text-generation #light-installtion

Tomo [2017]

Speculative design artefact materializing the implications of data collection.


Tomo is my first-year thesis project from Malmö University. Taking on a speculative design approach, the project sought to investigate and materialize the​ ​implications​ ​surrounding​ ​increased​ ​data​ ​collection​, focusing o​n ​a domestic​​ setting.
The project consisted of an series of conceptual​ ​design​ ​experiments​ ​and​ ​prototypes, resulting​ in a​ ​final​ ​prototype,​ ​Tomo; ​a​ living and breathing (mechanical and electronic) ​creature​ ​that​ ​lives​ ​in one’s​ ​home​ ​and​ ​feeds​ ​on​ ​data.​ ​The​ ​more​ ​data​ ​there​ ​is​ ​produced​ ​and​ ​captured​ ​in​ ​the home,​ ​the​ ​happier​ ​and​ ​healthier​ ​Tomo​ ​is. If no data is collected, the creature will slowly die. Tomo​ ​is​ ​designed​ ​to​ ​facilitate​ ​a​ ​relationship​ ​between​ ​the​ ​human​ ​user​ ​and​ ​itself,​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to illustrate​ ​the​ ​complex​ ​relationship​ ​we​ ​have​ ​with​ ​data​ collection.

#physical/digital #speculative-design #hardware #programming #formgiving

Multivocal [2017 - ongoing]

Exploring representation, identity and aesthetics of synthesized voices


Multivocal is a research and art collective exploring the politics and aesthetics of synthesized voices, and what notions of identity, personhood and will we ascribe to the synthesized voices communicating with us.
Multivocal is also an ever-evolving non-binary synthesized voice created by a (digital) community of participants with different age, gender, and geographical origin. We seek to create an open source and participatory alternative to the proprietary voices with singular identities.
Read more and participate on the project's website

#critical-design #machine-learning #research #synthesized-voices