November 25, 2019

Hyphen-Labs is an international collective working at the intersection of technology, art, science, and the future. Through their global vision and multi-disciplinary backgrounds they are driven to create engaging ways to explore planetary-centered design. In the process they challenge conventions and stimulate conversations, placing collective needs and experiences at the center of evolving narratives.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. 

Hi I’m carmen, 

Hi i’m ece!

(carmen)i think of myself as a shapeshifter. 

(ece) i think of myself as a future space dweller.  

At hyphen-labs we are creatives, futurists, planetary centered designers, tomato enthusiasts and animal lovers. Ece comes from Architecture & Carmen comes from engineering. Our projects range in scale and we are involved with each project: from ideation to execution. We are curious about speculative narratives, emerging technologies, critical aesthetics, and interspecies relationships. We speak internationally at design festivals, museums, and universities. We are currently in residence at Somerset House Studios

Left to Right: Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ece Tankal

What’s it like to work as a collective with members from so many backgrounds (architects/engineers/artists/etc)?

Working across disciplines and cultures allows fluid sharing and borrowing of rituals, ideas, inspirations and practices.  Our curiosity for emerging territories and synergies are revealed as we research, work and share our learnings with each other and through our work. This allows us to understand that new meanings can be applied without erasing the original meanings or identities.

Do you have a leadership model among your collaborators? In what way is leadership important to your work and goals?

We have a horizontal operational structure. We collaborate with people who are already experts in their fields. We want to stay fresh by learning new things from researchers, scientists, programmers and also other artists. 


How did Hyphen-labs start? Where do you see it going in the future?

Hyphen-Labs is a design studio and think tank started in 2014 as a platform where we could create and connect with other women across the world. Within our respective industries, we saw the lack of female representation from creators to leaders. Carmen and Ece met in a masters program that was full of individuals from different disciplines and cultural backgrounds and we were encouraged to explore and create outside of our comfort zones. 

What are the advantages of working in a research-based speculative mode?

Working in a more speculative realm allows us to stretch people’s minds from a critical distance that eventually make them interrogate their own realities. It establishes situations, places and interactions for them to encounter and relate to others.  It provides a unique vehicle we can hop on to communicate the materiality of different futures. 

Who would you ideally like to collaborate with?

With every new project, we want to challenge ourselves to express our ideas in new mediums. Sound is a very exciting field. We are really looking for ways to collaborate with musicians and sound artists. Working with Bjork would be dreamlike.

Are you working on developing any new projects right now?

We are currently working on a project in Berlin, collaborating with John-Dylan Haynes, a neuroscientist from  Charité and the Humboldt University of Berlin, researching on free will. It is an experience exploring consciousness through automated machines. Positioning consciousness and stream of thought as the automated machine and using humans to elucidate the brain activity that precedes thought. 

What kinds of things are influencing these projects? 

Current affairs, inescapable facts, technological advancements, psychological theories, our physical and digital built environments and interactions we have in these, the constant production of ‘otherness’. 

Higher Resolution x Tate Exchange 2019

Hyphen-Labs is so multifaceted- how would you explain it to a stranger?

The Hyphen in our name defines who we are. We’re a global collective using our broad experiences and cultural perspectives to make meaningful work. The work we create reflects the very intersections of identity, ideas, and experiences that our name implies.   

The future of technology is so often thought of in a sinister and dark way– which is why I appreciate how hyphen-labs subverts and uses tools such as VR in an optimistic way. Can you talk a little more about this?

We want to use technology to bring people into our minds.  This means bringing our audience into transformative experiences that go beyond the stereotypical narratives that center around survivalism, dystopia and planetary escapism. We believe in a future that we are a part of! We do that in order to build new stories that bring our communities together and allow for discussions sharing of alternative world views.  We are curious beings and want to experiment with what is ‘emerging’ (hardware or software) and has yet to be defined. Creation in new mediums and within developing industries means that rules and codes haven’t been written and it’s empowering to know that we can make something different.