Soft Body Breast Controller

Sylvie Sherman (2018)

The Soft Body Breast Controller is a video game controller developed by Sylvie Sherman for her 2018 MFA thesis project at the CMU School of Drama. Sylvie writes: “The project seeks to defamiliarize the bodily experience of the game player, and by doing so, replicate feelings of alienation that I have experienced relating to my own body. As the player finds joyful interaction with the controller, this anxiety is transcended.”

The control system consists of six “soft bodies,” pillowy forms on velcro straps that are attached to the player’s body. Each soft body is connected to a wireless microcontroller, and contains an RGB LED, allowing the soft body to light up in any color, as well as a force-sensitive resistor, which measures the pressure applied to the soft body when it is pressed or squeezed.

The physical controllers are accompanied by a bespoke computer game. In this game, the soft bodies attached to the player’s body correspond to onscreen breasts. By squeezing the soft bodies, the player makes breasts on the screen grow, move in unusual ways, and produce sounds. Each breast is associated with its own synthesized voice, which changes pitch according to the pressure applied to it.

This project was supported in part by funding from the STUDIO’s Frank-Ratchye Fund For Art @ the Frontier.