Dear Technical Department…
In case you haven’t gone to u-tube to get the info. This is Daito Manabe, a maxMSP regular. The set up is not that complicated, we bought a simmilar machine at Garbage-Thor. You would need some knowledge of where to put the myoelectric sensors. And for godsake use bluethooth to avoid electrocution – or not.
We got a grant. We bought a new toy. But the story does not start there. It started in a flea market almost three years ago, with a vintage hair dryer that begged to be bought.
Later during the research for our robot Maxi Wanzl, we stumbled upon the openEEG project. It offered EEG for the rest of us, but you would have to build it yourself. The technical department became sceptical: Not another D.I.Y. prototype that requiered months of work.
So one year ago, when Cycling 74 published the news about an EEG-machine that came with its own maxMSP patch at reasonable prices, we rejoiced. Finally the possibility to work with an interface device that goes both ways. With this we can make the brain control lights, music, video, etc. Or we can register and store the brains reaction to these impulses.
In this post I will go trough all the geeky technical details of how we created the torture chamber. All gadget in the “performance” were controlled from a control center in the next room. I wish I had more illustrative pictures from the construction though 😦
1. An unknowing victim is picked out at the Halloween party upstairs. He/she is asked to gently follow us down. He/she is given a safety word to say if things go to far. We want to scare not scar people. No word is spoken from this point. The person is blindfolded and brought brutally down to the basement.
2. In the innermost cellar room, isolated from the noise of the party upstairs, the victim is put into an (empty) bathtub. Here he/she is chained on hands and feet and left alone with no information of what is going on. The door is locked and the room is left in darkness except from a dark red darkroom bulb glowing through the ribs of a slaughtered deer and a randomly strobing white lamp in one end of the room.
Our test victim Louise is ready.
We have split up to cover more territory. One half terrorized Grenland for Halloween, the other participated in a workshop at the Medialab-Prado. The goal is finding other people and groups that work with maxMSP. It is a nice space, with a busy atmosphere, full of computers, equipment and nerds. Quite a contrast to home.
The subject this evening was some open3D application. We arrived late of course and left a bit early to talk to the organisers. The lab has weekly program of events, lectures and workshops. Morning and evening. It is mostly free. There is a lack of programmers, but not of artists.
This divide has followed us for some time. Artists with ideas that need technicians to do it. Down with ideas, up with I do and I dids. It is the perfect place to start Bling Toy.
The two of us write blog together. Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as farthest away. We have assigned clever pseudonyms to prevent recognition. Why have we kept our own names? Out of habit, purely out of habit. To make ourselves unrecognizable in turn. To render imperceptible, not ourselves, but what makes us act, feel, and think. Also because it’s nice to talk like everybody else, to say the sun rises, when everybody knows it’s only a manner of speaking. To reach, not the point where one no longer says I, but the point where it is no longer of any importance whether one says I. We are no longer ourselves. Each will know his own. We have been aided, inspired, multiplied.