Shiver, Expanded Bodies 2.0 Festival Temps d’image, Tanzhaus NRW. Duration: 3 hours.
Combining hi-tech in art.
Cristiana Negoescu and Alexandra Reichart.
“Shiver” is a multimedia project that lasted for 3 hours during the “Temps d’image” festival at the Tanzhaus NRW.
I wanted to understand how I can come closer as a human being to technology and how this approach can be a mediator in between myself and other people.
In order to do this I needed to digitalize myself and translate myself into computer data as much as possible. I thought that if a computer can understand me while communicating without words to it, then so can other human beings.
I discovered a while ago a set of exercises that release tension from the muscles and thus the calm the mind down. They are called TRE (trauma release exercises) initially made for people with Post Traumatic Disorder, or other forms of anxiety. They way the work is by putting the body into a state of uncontrolled shaking and because all of the electric connections in our body, while shaking the body releases oxytocin, therefore bringing the mind to a state of relaxation.
During these exercises the body shakes uncontrollably, yet the body is in a very pleasant state. I wanted to make people that would see this understand as intensely as possible what sensations I am going through.
I started analysing my brain waves before and after the exercise and I discovered that my mind was much more balanced after I did the exercises, I then stored the brain waves into data.
I studied how computers interpret movements with tracking devices in order to not only make the computer understand me, but also to understand the basics of how it works.
Yet, the most direct part of this process of understanding was using bio-sensors. I connected a series of 12 sensors to the main muscles areas on my body and did a live reading and recording for how rapid and how strong the tensing of my muscles was within 20 minutes of doing this performative exercise. The results were fascinating because the data was describing individual movements of groups of muscles that
normally, if done in a conscious way, like one would do while doing a squat cannot move separately, when we move, in order to activate parts of our bodies we very rarely move only one muscle. Yet in this trance like experience, the muscles, like for example the abdominal muscles that are grouped were moving individually. This was the data that the bio-sensors were reading from my body.
The communication with the computer was easily successful, the
bio-sensors read whatever my body was giving to them, and this information was easy to transform in numbers that then could be transformed in data to “move” more or less anything.
So this brought me to the idea to immerse the viewer in multiple layers of understand- ing another person (in this case myself) without really needing to have me present or to do the exercises themselves.
So, I connected the data from the bio-sensors with two vibration-motors ( for the left and right side of the body) and attached them to a sofa. Now the motors had a mixed 6×2 data of the movement that they were releasing in the couch. As well as a fractal animation that would translate the movement of my muscles into moving images. In order to make the experience complete I made a movie of the actual movement that produced the data for the vibration and the animation.
This resulted into a limited period of time in which people could see and actually feel and fully experience what happens during an involuntary movement.