sifrmu: small gestures

bani haykal

‘sifrmu: small gestures’ is a continuation of my ongoing work on human-machine intimacies, where intimacy is defined as a process of transformation. In this iteration, the project looks into the granular components of intimacy and tactility in relation to usability, interaction and familiarity with mechanical keyboards.

sifrmu is a portmanteau of 2 words, ‘sifr’ (Arabic / Malay for zero) which is etymologically the root word for cipher, and ‘mu’, a Malay suffix meaning you / yours. The project began by looking into encryption as a process of intimacy, where information not meant for public access is hidden through various techniques in order to protect the contents of the information, a careful gesture of wrapping the other.

With ‘sifrmu: small gestures’, I dive a little deeper into the functions, operations and choreography between fingers and keys, to design a new mechanical instrument which considers more carefully the interactions that occur, from multi-functional keys to developing basic memorisation functions. These new implementations are proposed to be more precise yet ambiguous in the way the machine (mis)behaves, offering a very brief glimpse into how we can interact with a machine that requires us time to learn it’s modes of operation. What / how does the machine respond to us? Through these smaller gestures, could we find more entry points of connecting and being closer with our machines?

sifrmu: small gestures


bani haykal experiments with text + music.

As an artist, composer and musician, bani considers music (making / processes) as material and his projects investigate modes of interfacing and interaction with feedback / feedforward mechanisms. He is a member of b-quartet and Soundpainting ensemble Erik Satay & The Kampong Arkestra.

Manifestations of his research culminate into works of various forms encompassing installation, poetry and performance. In his capacity as a collaborator and a soloist, bani has participated in festivals including MeCA Festival (Japan), Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), Media/Art Kitchen (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan), Liquid Architecture and Singapore International Festival of Arts (Singapore) among others.