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Nude bodies as a musical instrument

Submitted by on April 17, 2014 – 6:53 pm No Comment

Cocky Eek’s Tactile Research Lab has created an art-installation-meets-musical-instrument-meets-organic-weirdness. Called the “Get in Touch” exhibit, it invites the public to create sounds by touching the backs of nude people in an effort to help people “question the way an interface influences behavior.”

This group has worked with many strange ideas, but this is definitely one of the stranger ones.

“We started this project, because of our shared interest in using the body as a material; we wanted to create a human interface. The result of our collaboration is get in touch, a work that is both installation, performance and a musical instrument.”

Essentially, the “instrument” is made up of a large cylindrical shape of fabric – openings in the fabric show various bits of peoples’ nude backs who are naked inside the cylinder. Each of the five performers is attached to a circuit bent radio and cracklebox, which is attached to a speaker. People who want to interact with the instrument are invited to come up and touch the skin showing through the openings, creating various sounds. If you touch more than one person’s back, a virtual connection is made between the crackleboxes, which starts the sound. The sounds change based on the amount of pressure applied.

“This warm instrument questions the way an interface changes our behaviour. As soon as you start playing, something very strange happens; you forget that you’re touching a human. Somehow this almost sensual action of touching someone’s naked back, is transformed into an a-sexual action and that body into an object.”

Here’s a video showing the installation in action:

I love the looks on the people’s faces as it sinks in what they are actually doing. The group says:

“When you stop interacting however, you suddenly realize that you were actually quite intimate with the people inside the installation, and suddenly the objects of the interface you were just playing with, become human again.”

After each of the visitors have ‘played’ the instrument or interacted with the installation, they are all given a card, stating:

You have been intimate with: (and a photo of each of the performers, along with each’s contact information.) The idea being that it makes the transition from an anonymous interface back to humans even stronger.

What do you think, creative art installation or just creepy weirdness?


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