Animalia · Bio · Human-ities · Performativity · Philosophy

A Philosophy of Tickling

Aristotle famously defined man as the rational animal (zoon echon logon), and as the political animal (zoon politikon). But there are also passages in his work that indicate another less remarked upon, though no less profound, definition. In Parts of Animals, he writes: “When people are tickled, they quickly burst into laughter, and this is because the motion quickly penetrates to this part, and even though it is only gently warmed, still it produces a movement (independently of the will) in the intelligence which is recognizable. The fact that human beings only are susceptible to tickling is due to the fineness of their skin and to their being the only creatures that laugh.” Perhaps this notion of the “ticklish animal” was further elaborated in the second book of the Poetics, the lost treatise on comedy; indeed, the relationship between ticklish laughter and comic laughter remains an open question. Should tickling be investigated under the heading of comedy or of touch? Touch, Aristotle argues, is the most primary sense, and human beings are uniquely privileged in possessing the sharpest sense of touch thanks to the delicate nature of their skin. Though other animals have more advanced smell or hearing, “man’s sense of touch … excels that of all other animals in fineness.” We might view tickling as a side effect of the hyper-sensitivity of human touch. Our peculiar vulnerability to tickling is the price to be paid for more sophisticated and discriminating access to the world.

Excerpt via Cabinet. Continue THERE

Architectonic · Art/Aesthetics · Bio · Digital Media · Film/Video/New Media · Motion Graphics · Performativity · Technology

Techné/Dance/Dechné/Tance: body+motion+computation

This is only a small selection of recent dance work and therefore is a omitting a long list of dance collectives, performance artist, and other experimental movers/thinkers who have contribute tremendously to the development of what you will see below. Thanks to all of them.

SERAPH(2010): Created by Robby Barnett, Molly Gawler, Renée Jaworski, and Itamar Kubovy in collaboration with the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory, directed by Prof. Daniela Rus and including current and former MIT PhD students William Selby, Brian Julian, Daniel Soltero, Andrew Marchese, and Carrick Detweiler (graduated, now assistant professor at University of Nebraska, Lincoln). Music: Schubert Trio no.2 in E Flat, Op.100. ll Andante con moto

Anarchy Dance Theatre (From the project description): The collaboration project between Anarchy Dance Theatre and Ultra Combos focused on building up a new viewer centered performance venue. In this space all movements including the dancers’ and audience’s can be detected and interact with each other through visual effect. The audience is not merely watching the show but actively participating in it. More HERE

Trinity (From the project description): a dance performance with high levels of real time interaction and close relationship between: dance, sound and visuals.

The interactive link is done through a videocamera installed above the stage and under infrared lighting. Besides positional tracking the project is focus in measuring movement qualities as: forces and directions, accelerations, stage position, velocity and body area.

The performance has been created and executed in live using the environment MAX/MSP/JITTER by Cycling74 and the computer vision library CV.JIT by Jean-Marc Pelletier. More HERE

Dance and Projection Mapping from Daito Manabe (http://www.daito.ws/#2)

Instrumental Bodies (From the project description): Researchers at the Input Devices and Music Interaction Lab at McGill University recently released a video documentary on the design and fabrication of “prosthetic digital instruments” for music and dance. These instruments are the culmination of a three-year long project in which the designers worked closely with dancers, musicians, composers and a choreographer. The goal of the project was to develop instruments that are visually striking, utilize advanced sensing technologies, and are rugged enough for extensive use in performance.

The complex, transparent shapes are lit from within, and include articulated spines, curved visors and ribcages. Unlike most computer music control interfaces, they function both as hand-held, manipulable controllers and as wearable, movement-tracking extensions to the body. Further, since the performers can smoothly attach and detach the objects, these new instruments deliberately blur the line between the performers’ bodies and the instrument being played. More HERE

Cadence I – IV (The artist’s description): The institution of the military is steeped in performative traditions, rituals and practices. Indeed the collective military body can be thought of as being characterised by a carefully calibrated choreography of movement.

Cadence (2013) is a series of four new-media artworks whose subject sits between war and performance. In these new video works, the figure of the Australian, US and Taliban soldier is placed within formal landscapes appropriated from pro-military cinema and military training simulators.

Rather than enacting standard military gestures or postures, the simulated soldier performs a slow and poetic dance. The usual politics of movement, discipline and posture of the military body are subverted, and instead rendered soft and expressive.

The seductive visual rhythm of cadence, camouflage and natural mimicry in these works gesture towards the dark mysticism of military history, where soldiers and psychedelics have often combined to disrupt landscapes and produce mystic escapes.

Technological backstage – Mr & Ms Dream a performance by Pietragalla Derouault Company & Dassault Systèmes: a behind-the-scenes process, showing how a dance piece that uses projection and real-time processing is put together.

Gideon Obarzaneks Digital Moves: Hailed by The Australian as the countrys best modern dance company, choreographer Gideon Obarzaneks Chunky Move dazzles audiences with its use of site-specific installations and interactive sound and light technologies. Obarzanek’s avant-garde performances explore the tensions between the rational world we live in and richness of our imagination.

Dance techne: Kinetic bodily logos and thinking in movement.

…and a beautiful composition by Ryoji Ikeda called Forest Of Memories. Taken from dumb type’s memorandum. A performance that brings their unique audiovisual architectonics to an investigation of memory.

Memorandum (Text via Epidemic): Combining elements of multimedia, dance and fragmented narrative, memorandum explores the hazy dimensions of recall that ground and disquietly erode our experience minute-by-minute.
The set is simple – almost an abstraction. A bare stage is bisected by an impenetrable but translucent wall, a screen onto which will be projected a barrage of images.
Amidst a cascade of white noise and REM-speed visual flashes, the performers break down the motions into displaced gestures in silhouette.
Penetrating deeper beneath the surface of moment, dancers drift in a slow sensual subconscious slidestep through the “forest of memory” haunted by voices and desires.

Unnoticed by waking reason, a lone witness/observer records evidence of the scene and is repeatedly eliminated.
Whereupon three figures cycle through three different accelerated subroutines of emotion, instinct and intellect, scarcely intersecting, each oblivious to the oblique “orbital” workings of the other.
Until finally, the dance emerges onto a primal oceanic frieze simultaneously flooded and exhausted of meanings.

Art/Aesthetics · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Philosophy · Science · Theory

Thinking through the Body: Essays in Somaesthetics

This book provides a richly rewarding vision of the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics. Composed of fourteen wide-ranging but finely integrated essays by Richard Shusterman, the originator of the field, Thinking through the Body explains the philosophical foundations of somaesthetics and applies its insights to central issues in ethics, education, cultural politics, consciousness studies, sexuality, and the arts. Integrating Western philosophy, cognitive science, and somatic methodologies with classical Asian theories of body, mind, and action, these essays probe the nature of somatic existence and the role of body consciousness in knowledge, memory, and behavior. Deploying somaesthetic perspectives to analyze key aesthetic concepts (such as style and the sublime), he offers detailed studies of embodiment in drama, dance, architecture, and photography. The volume also includes somaesthetic exercises for the classroom and explores the ars erotica as an art of living.

Text and Image via Cambridge University Press

Art/Aesthetics · Bio · Digital Media · Performativity · Social/Politics · Technology · Theory · Videos

Jeannette Ginslov: Capturing Affect With a Handful of Techne

On May 14, Jeannette Ginslov gave a Medea Talk about the developmental stages of the AffeXity project, the interdependence of the collaborators, the relational and dynamic formation of technical and human intervention, the encounters of the carnal and the digital, the dialogic and temporal scaffolding of encounters of techne and the hands that attempt to capture affect.

JEANNETTE GINSLOV is Medea’s artist-in-residence this spring. Her roots are as performer, choreographer and artistic director in South Africa, but for the last five years she has focused more on interdisciplinary platforms investigating the crossover between the media/dance/cinema/video and the internet.

Her work centers around affect, haptic and digital materiality on several platforms: stage, screens, online and new media applications. Ginslov is currently working with Prof Susan Kozel at Medea on the project AffeXity that draws together screendance, visual imagery and mobile networked devices.

Text Via MEDEA

Bio · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Vital-Edible-Health

Your Breasts Are Trying To Kill You

Lindy West: I don’t have any children yet, so my breasts are still more aesthetic than functional. I mostly use them as a food shelf, a cellphone case, and an in-flight pillow. When I was young and single and had less self-esteem, I used to joke that my breasts were “all I had” (good one, unhappy baby self!), but now that I’m older, I don’t have to rely on them to feel beautiful—for the time being, they’re just parts of me that fill my clothes and make my back hurt and, sure, make me feel pretty sometimes. I just don’t think about them that much anymore. Thanks to Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, a surprisingly emotional book by Florence Williams, though, that’s all changing. All of a sudden I can’t stop thinking about my breasts. Because it turns out they are total jerks.

In Breasts, Williams, a contributing editor for Outside magazine, attempts to offer a comprehensive social, cultural, medical, and scientific history of the human breast, a la single-word-titled best-sellers like Cod or Salt or Stiff—though not, alas, Balls. (In an act of one-word-wonder solidarity, Stiff author Mary Roach blurbed Breasts, citing Williams’ “double-D talents.”) Though that genre of sweeping, single-topic histories can wind up feeling hasty and reductive (it’s hard to write the history of one thing without touching on the history of all other things), Williams’ writing is scientifically detailed yet warm and accessible. She also stays firmly away from the juvenile (BOOOOOOOOO!!!) and isn’t afraid to delve into her personal life, making Breasts a smart and relatable, if occasionally dry, read.

Excerpt of an article written by Lindy West, at Slate. Continue HERE

Bio · Design · Human-ities · Sculpt/Install · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

The Immortal, life-support machines keeping each other alive

A number of life-support machines are connected to each other, circulating liquids and air in attempt to mimic a biological structure.

The Immortal investigates human dependence on electronics, the desire to make machines replicate organisms and our perception of anatomy as reflected by biomedical engineering.

The interpretation of anatomy with a mechanical vocabulary reflects strongly on the Western perception of the body.
Defining the body as a machine – where dysfunctional parts can be replaced by mechanics – speaks of how we understand life.

These objects encompass social debates about the ethics of euthanasia, the quantification of both the value and quality of life, making physical a poetic desire to conquer our own mortality.
The medical machine – whether in use or not – is an object which transcends its materiality. Designed and created to perform a single, most meaningful function, we never subject these devices to a critical investigation as industrial products within the context of material culture.

This work aims to explore the nature of these devices as objects of our times, liberated from their restrained purpose while still charged with its resonance.

Revital Cohen is a designer who develops critical objects and provocative scenarios exploring the juxtaposition of the natural with the artificial. Her work spans across various mediums and includes collaborations with scientists, bioethicists and animal breeders.

Text and Images via Revital Cohen

Events · Performativity · Projects · Shows

The Abramović Method

The Abramović Method was born from the artist’s reflections on three major performances from the last decade: The House With the Ocean View (2002), Seven Easy Pieces (2005) and The Artist is Present (2010). These performances left a deep imprint on Abramović’s perception of her work in relation to the public.

“In my experience, as developed in a career of over 40 years, I have arrived at the conclusion that the public plays a very important and indeed crucial role in performance,” she explains. “The performance has no meaning without the public because, as Duchamp said, it is the public that completes the work of art. In the case of performance, I would say that public and performer are not only complementary but almost inseparable.”

The PAC in Milan is the venue chosen by Marina Abramović to host her eagerly awaited new body of work, entitled The Abramović Method. This is the first major museum exhibition premiering new works since her groundbreaking retrospective in 2010 at the MoMA, New York. The Abramović Method will be on view at the PAC from March 21 through June 10, 2012.

Text taken from
The Abramović Method

Architectonic · Bio · Design · Performativity · Science · Sculpt/Install · Shows · Technology

The Extreme Environment Love Hotel. Carboniferous Room

The Extreme Environment Love Hotel, by Ai Hasegawa, simulates impossible places to go such as an earth of three hundred million years ago, or the surface of Jupiter by manipulating invisible but ever-present environmental factors, for example atmospheric conditions and gravity. A love hotel is a place for discrete intimacy but also a place for intensive physical and mental exercise. How might our bodies change, struggle or even adapt with varying conditions around us? For example, during the Carboniferous period, ancestors of the dragonfly Meganeura grew up to seventy-five centimeters due to the huge concentration of oxygen in the air, a tremendous boon to the insect but high levels of oxygen would be toxic to our fragile bodies.

Recent figures speculate that around 10% of children are now conceived by In Vitro Fertilization. The world around us and our reproductive technologies have given rise to new ideas of what sex is or could be and where it stands between our biologically-programmed needs and inclinations and our human fetishes and desires. Perhaps the Extreme Environments Love Hotel might give rise to new evolutions and mutations of the human body and sex and give it a brand new role away from any of these historical precedents.

Ai Hasegawa studied computer graphic animation and interactive media art at the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences, Japan. On graduating I created animations for educational TV programs in Tokyo. After moving to London I began working as an animator, character designer, illustrator and interaction designer.