[-empyre-] installation / enveloping environments

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Sat Oct 22 05:04:18 EST 2011

Atau writes, 

 ...would like to bring the visceral aspect of biofeedback performance to an installation without the hassle of wiring up every gallery visitor.
Here, sound, and the physicalisation of sound has helped me create enveloping environments that (might) suspend time for the visitor.

I attempted to do this in an installation work called Bondage where a photo by Araki is sonified in interaction with infrared images (body heat) of visitors in front of the image exposed elements of the original photo. Corporeal presence and fantasy were rendered as sound, reproduced in a physical enough way (vibrating and felt, not just heard), with crappy enough interaction that people didn't need to try to understand cause and effect, to fill the space and perhaps create a momentarily intemporal connection between gallery visitor and the imaginary bonded kimono subject of Araki. I've just written a text about this on a volume on Intimacy in Digital Performance forthcoming on Palgrave (sorry for the shameless self promotion!)

and after reading the scathing political critique that Jaime has offered, i wonder how we think about immersion today (here: aural immersion, biofeedback..), in the context of control and compliance management or even enforced or encouraged "interactivity";  
at ars electronica, this summer, they even announced, euphemistically, this our time to be the "age of participation."  

I am aware that Atau emphasized being a musician (and nicely refered to the interactivity being "crappy enough", in the piece he mentioned), and that there may be a liveness of the stage and a visceral liveness working in installation (Sérgio, you have worked with synaesthetic concepts, which also seemed to be subject to Jaime's critique?) –– but the visceral affect or sensual/multisensorial affect  (so often now foregrounded in writings and discussions on so-called "embodiment"), why has it become such an issue, and is it intrinsically connected to emotional frequencies  (and the time it takes to fantasize) as well as particular more (or less) desirable physical/physiological responses?   Is this how one needs to understand Rancière's concern with the need for re-sensibilization?  But re-sensibilization towards what?  a work's affective power, its ritual effficacy and alchemy (Gordana?), its Artaudian rather than its political (Brechtian) sense? its dependence on an active spectator-collaborator?  its therapeutic sense?  or indeed its metaphysical or transcendent, collective-relational powers (as Olu and Jaime both seem to aim for, though with different processes)? 

and Mine, i think you echoed and spoke a threat immanent in some of our fine post fordist societies -- perform or else!   

best wishes
Johannes Birringer

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