Video Projection, Electrical Stimulation, Solo Performer

[performance installation, duration: 120 minutes]

As we become more embedded in complex data networks, and as the operational mode and speed of these networks develop further away from what we can consciously access, the role of consciousness itself is called into question.

The resulting scenario involves a distinct displacement of our agency: acting through our conscious grasp of situations, we simply cannot have direct operational or “real-time” access to the data milieus of culture products […] We thus find ourselves faced with the imperative to respond — to take deliberate action and to make conscious decisions — in situations where deliberation is no longer the relevant mode of response and where consciousness is no longer the relevant level of experience.

Mark B. N. Hansen, Feed Forward: On the Future of Twenty-First-Century Media (2015)

The connected performer attempted to carry out a series of movements with objects as directed by visual, auditory, and tactile feedback. While attempting to make sense of feedback from the system, the performer remains unaware of the meaning of his actions or of the role he is playing.

Video projection and camera installed overhead. All software built using openFrameworks.

System runs based on preprogrammed behaviors which are chosen based on probability tables and the performer’s actions. Each behavior has a unique way of assessing the current arrangement of objects and issuing instructions to the performer. Some behaviors are only interested in adding new objects, others with removing objects from the table, and still others focus on avoiding or moving towards set regions. The system periodically reads the table for object placement, comparing the current state of real-world objects against the target arrangement created by the program.

Performer is wearing electrodes on his upper body, allowing electrical impulses to be delivered directly to his nerves and muscles based on his success or failure to complete assigned instructions.