Wenjun Li
I Am Drinking With You is an alcohol drinking machine that shares a toast with its user.  It consists of a 1992 computer monitor case, a contemporary LCD screen without a frame, a glass of wine for the participant, and several tubes connecting all the parts.
This machine makes you feel both uncomfortable and captivated as if you're just on the cusp of drinking too much alcohol.
The user knows that she is hurting herself, but nevertheless continues the activity.
It aims to bring the risk of being physically vulnerable to the screen-based interface.
And to reveal the inevitable design violence rooted in our intelligent machines.
In the context of this project, design violence is an invisible force coming out of our designs and perpetrated through our willingness to disable our bodies by delegating communication to the screen, keyboard, and mouse.
The overall “user” experience is designed to be compelling but, at the same time, due to an intense strobe light, slightly uncomfortable, as is any consumption indulged past moderation.
[ Alcohol ]
Applying alcohol in this work is a response to a well-known quote “There are only two industries which refer to their customers as users, drugs and computers,” from Computer Literacy Bookshops Interview, 1994-1997, by Edward R Tufte. By planting alcohol here, the participant now is regarded as a “user” of both of them, as alcohol is one of the mind alternating substances, similar to drugs.
[ Share a Toast ]
Raising the glass or making a toast is a metaphor for wishing for a better future, and enjoying more full-body escape from our intelligent devices. Even during difficult times, for example, the Covid-19 pandemic, we still tend to be optimistic while facing the virtual engagement dilemma.
[ Clinking Glasses ]
A myth I read about drinking culture says that the moment people drink alcohol, they could smell it, see it, touch it, and taste it, but could not hear it, therefore, in order to have all human senses involved in this special activity, people added clinking glasses to that.
Here, the participant drinks together alone, online with a machine. The clinking glasses with a machine is a substitute for real interpersonal connection.
I Am Drinking With You asks the participant to consider:
Why is this machine hurting me?
This inquiry also begs another question:
What have we lost in a life filled almost entirely with screen-based interfaces?
Making Process
Making Process
discharge a CRT monitor_
tear down a CRT monitor_
attach a usb camera module to its case_
put in blue acrylic pieces_
black foam board for the LCD screen_
a raspberry pi 4 with the LCD screen_
Pumping Water & Air
peristaltic dosing pumps (1)_
peristaltic dosing pumps (2)_
water moving in two directions in a tube_
pump red wine_
Strobe Light
strobe light circuit prototype_
strobe light circuit on perfboard_
color testing_
put it in the old monitor case_
Clinking Wine Glasses
one glass on a stool_
a mpu9250 chip_
conductive paint testing_
two wine glasses clink_
paint one of the glasses to black_
position two glasses in the case_
for more details on development
Github repo (coming soon...)
I Am Drinking With You is part of my MFA thesis project at Parsons School of Design, The New School.
MANY thanks to all the peers that supported and helped me during this journey and especially my thesis advisors: John Sharp, Jamie Keiles, Aya Karpinska and Louisa Campbell. ❤️