Mediated Body

Burning man 2010 & Emerge and see conference 2011 (August 2010)

Mediated Body is a symbiotic system consisting of a human (the Performer) wearing custom-built technology (the Suit). The system offers a play session to a single Participant at a time. The role of the technology is to sense physical bare-skin connection between the Performer and the Participant. The sensing yields analogue values in a range starting from a few centimeters from actual touch, via light touch, to full contact.

The values are converted into a relatively complex soundscape, which is played back in the headphones that both the Performer and the Participant wear. Thus from the Participant’s point of view, the Performer is a human theremin: a musical instrument that she can play by touching. However, due to the design of the system, the instrument can also play its player: When the Performer touches the Participant, the soundscape is affected in the same way.

The performer would engage with participants by inviting them to try out the suit with him. They did this by putting on a pair of extra headphones. The headphones would turn the participant and the performer into an interpersonal touch-reactive interface. It offered a bare-skin interaction between the participant and the performer. The system would sense the distance and the amount of touch between the two which would be turned into a rather complex soundscape that they could explore through different ways of creating contact with each other.

The Mediated Body is a suit that embodies the essence of interpersonal touch from the other experiments. Instead of having an object to interact with or around, the touch interface was converted into a suit worn by a performer.

The suit

###Credits Bent Haugland, Mads Hobye, Nicolas Padfield, Nikolaj Møbius and Nynne Just Christoffersen.