Music for Flesh II (2011)

A seamless mediation between human biosonic potential and algorithmic composition.

Full Description

By enabling a computer to sense and interact with the muscular sonic potential of human tissues, the work approaches the biological body as a means for computational artistry. I stand in a dark room, hit with two spotlights. When the visitors enter the room the performance begins. During my performance muscle movements and blood flow produce subcutaneous mechanical oscillations, which are nothing but low frequency sound waves. Two microphone sensors capture the sonic matter created by my limbs and send it to a computer. This develops an understanding of my kinetic behaviour by listening to the friction of my flesh. Specific gesture, force levels and patterns are identified in real time by the computer; then, according to this information, it manipulates algorithmically the sound of my flesh and diffuses it through an octophonic system. The computer learns about and interact with the performance: for instance, strong and wide movements repeated for longer than 30 seconds prompts the computer to increase the sound loudness and density of the processed output; a repeated excitement of the left bicep causes a rich vibrato; an abrupt contraction of the right forearm moves the sound across the right side of the sonic field. The neural and biological signals that drive the performer's actions become analogous expressive matter, for they emerge as a tangible haunting soundscape.

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