Dunne & Raby Response – EM Dog Muzzle

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One of the pieces that I found most gripping was the EM dog muzzle from the 2006-7 ‘Spymaker’ exhibit. What was most successful about this piece is that it straddles the line between fiction and reality so closely, and in a way that is deeply unnerving. The form of this artifact reveals the function upon first glance and is familiar enough to seem plausible. Though I was aware from the context I was browsing this piece that it was intended as critical design, I found myself wavering back and forth on if an instrument like this would be used, if it existed, and the answer I landed on was, unfortunately, yes. Similarly—perhaps an artifact of the desensitization of the internet, which is another conversation entirely—I found the imagery of this being mounted on a dog even more disturbing than it being on a human. A creature being unwillingly muzzled, deprived of senses, and transfigured into a biological machine for tracking technologies it neither understands nor experiences. The idea is manipulative, anonymizing, but undeniably sleek and attractive.

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