[-empyre-] Somatechnics, response, participation, failed empathy

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Tue Oct 18 02:53:30 EST 2011

one question kept spiraling in my mind -- it had to do with Gordana's speculation on
audience participation/audience time and experience in interactional art works or
interactive architectures that aspire to being ritual..?

>> [Gordana writes]
I think that it is a necessary element that can help in overcoming the
dependence on perceptual habits and mechanical clock, and bring a
potential to open up body and mind for the natural, biological
perception of time, speed and space that Olu beautifully elaborated.
‘Be like water, my friend’ ......

>> the active participation of the audience is the conditio sine qua non,
either in ritual or in interactive installation.

The emblematic sonic and visual language of interactive installation and the specific radiant 
energy generated by its body, the reversible stream between
the participants and environment through interaction amalgamates
participants' bodies with installation parallel to the unity of body
and space in ritual. Repetitiveness of the visual and the aural
elements within a changeable flow of audiovisual modules as the common
structure of interactive works operates as a classical mantric,
trance-inducing ritual instrument....
the impact of the installation's environment on
participants' personal bio-electric system is still enigmatic....>>

yes, indeed, and that was my concern about the different somatechnics; 
and I'd love to hear Dee comment on these issues of empathy,
and also hear from the musicians and sonic artists who are joining us this week
how they think about the ritual or trancing aspect of sonic immersion?

Then Gordana argues:
... the big question is that we do not automatically
empathise with others. We need to be emotionally stimulated, fully
engaged. How to deal with that? Do we need some kind of initiation?
And if so – what would that be?

This is what I had asked Claudia Robles about, and Claudia  has given us some good 
insight into how biofeedback systems might work (as self-installations // but not as performances? //
as "mapping" that seems to imply "coherent" correspondences that I also often see in the
research on emotion design - which, however, for me are too simplistic;

(quiet sound, calm state of mind?)*


*  I experienced calm state of mind in quasi cre-leisure lying on thick carpet inside Hayward Gallery (London)
last weekend, listening to / watching the triptych video installation (immersive and spectacular) of
Pipilotti Rist (the piece "Lobe of the Lung," 2009, in the large exhibition  PIPILOTTI RIST: EYEBALL MASSAGE. 
for video see:  [http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/rist].
It would take some time to evaluate the experience;  the images after a while did not emotionally
or affectively engage me at all, perhaps the colors of the hyper-lush rotting fruits did. What annoyed
me was the repetitive chord structure of the sound, high C, A Flat, F (downward progression and then
repeat), a strangely creamy minor chord that seemed to lull everyone into a stupor.

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