Media Technology MSc

URUD, Don’t Leave Me This Way (2003)

Dave, stop... Stop Dave... I’m afraid. I’m afraid Dave...” These are pleas of computer HAL in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, when astronaut Dave threatens to switch it off. Right before he is actually disconnected, HAL starts to sing the nursery rhyme “Daisy, daisy...”. Within the viewer, and possibly within Dave, this singing arouses a feeling of empathy. It seems like HAL is suffering dementia and is relapsing into his oldest memories. URUD is an object that attempts to create empathy in the viewer by way of fictitious memories within the object itself. Things that generate empathy within us usually have a face that can laugh, cry, etcetera. URUD, however, takes a different approach. It is a square box with no facial expression but displays on 5 of its 6 sides that switch on when a viewer approaches. But when the viewer moves away from it, the displays show fictitious memories by URUD of when he was forsaken in the past, alone in a forest. “He can return any moment now”, URUD tells himself filled with hope. The departing viewer will turn around, and empathize with URUD. Hopefully.