A performance installation collaboration with Jack Ratcliffe.
In MMII, the audience is invited to physically interact with a performer connected to the piece through brainwave, pulse rate, temperature, movement and galvanic skin response (lie detector) sensors.
The performer’s body naturally reacts to the audience inputs, and it is these natural biological responses that are recorded by the sensors and visualised behind him for the audience to see.
The piece explores theorist Marshall McLuhan’s idea that modern technology had outered the brain and nervous system from existing purely within the human body. This still-accelerating process of humans “outsourcing” physical and mental functions has accelerated with the rise of digital technology, and thus continues to produce huge cognitive changes.
But one barrier strongly remains between humanity and its technology: physical bodies.
Through the interactions of the audience, the installation merges the physical attributes of the human and the computer, generating a visualisation which highlights the human body as the ultimate interface – and the ultimate barrier – for human-computer interaction.
MMII uses five sensors to read the biorhythms from the human performed – brainwave, pulse rate, temperature, galvanic skin response and movement. It passes these readings through an Arduino and feeds them into an OpenFrameworks script that generates the 3D visualisation projected behind the performer.
The difference in which factors affect which elements produces an interesting juxtapostion: the human's readings can be altered by emotional changes, environmental shifts and countless other factors, involuntarily shifting the body's outputs. The computer, on the other hand, is insuceptable to such subtlties, but benefits from direct control of it's temperature regulation system in response to highenten interactions. Equally, the human and the machine perceive common experiences in incredibly divergent ways. Watching relaxing or shocking video on the computer would have hugely differeing effects on the human, while the computer will respond indentically to experiencing both: simply by increasing it's processing output.
Audience interacting at Richmix EXHIBITIONS
Interfaces Monthly Exhibition, The Trampery+Barbican