BODYNET 1.2 – PLANETARY EMBRACE

BI Un/bound: Beyond the Infinite is Inside the Body, in Body Intelligence.

 

 

 

 

 

A two-part performative installation (metaformance)
involving metagaming, telematics, robotics, IA and VR.

by Jaime del Val/Reverso/Metabody
in collaboration with: Jean-Marc Matos/K. Danse

excerpts from rehearsals in Metabody Toulouse 2021
Metabody Forum – Toulouse, France – October 2021
with participation of Laure Lapeyre, Jennifer Aïach,
Maria Luisa Angulo, Ariadna Logvinova, Chiara Minoccheri.
Videos and photos by Jean-Marc Matos and Jaime del Val.
Software: Michele Abolaffio (Netherlands)

The audience enters one to one to have an immersive and intimate journey of around 15-20 minutes altogether, in two parts:

PART 1 – PLANETARY EMBRACE

A person from the audience receives the embrace of a small suspended flexible robotic structure, a cocoon that that moves through data coming from the smartphone sensors of a remote interactor (performer) performing the gesture of hugging. Besides this the structure moves on its own when no person is interacting, following data coming from databases on human impact on the planet, evolving through a slow divergent AI algorithm and learning from or remembering echoes of people’s interactions.  The relatively short interaction allows the intra-actor from the audience to enter a relaxed sense of connection that will allow her to explore subtle movements in the second part. Different types of structures can create architectural dialogue, including outdoors.

The piece plays with how the pandemic has revealed how much need hugging when we are immobile and isolated but also how entangled we are at planetary scale, our intimacy with viruses and with our impact on the planet that unleashes pandemics. The proposed reply to this situation is a change in sensibility where instead of looking at each other from a distance we feel each other and the world through our sense of proprioception, while regaining a lost capacity to move that allows us to gradually disalign from unsustainable systems of living: a planetary embrace as starting point towards restoring the Planet’s Health. The bound body exposes our unrecognised alignments and their relation to a millennia old slave society that splits us from each other, but the installations also creates condition for a body unbound that discovers a new freedom and sense of connection.

The project ironically plays with the idea that we live in times of “Hug speculation” of affective capitalism and will offer  a Catalogue of hugs and a lifelong subscription discount.

This part is an evolution of https://metabody.eu/alien-embrace/

PART 2 – DIVERGENCE MACHINE

A person from the audience relates with a remote interactor (performer) through smartphone sensors worn in the forearm whose movement is transposed to abstract avatars: an amorphous architecture that evokes the neglected complexity of our tissues and the inner movement of the body and its sense of proprioception. With every new subtle torsion a new deformation of the virtual world unfolds in this abstract telematic conversation that invites the participant to discover new movements and sensations: one’s capacity to vary. A complex electronic soundscape is also enacted in the process, while a sequence of up to 15 scenes unfolds with a duration of approx. 10 minutes. The game starts from a simple say-reply improvisation and can evolve into more complex interactions.

The meshes and sound also move on their own when no person is interacting, following data coming from databases on human impact on the planet, evolving through a slow divergent AI algorithm and learning from or remembering echoes of people’s interactions.  Both audience and performer wear “disaligned smartphones”, placed in an unsual position on the body, that makes its presence more evident exposing how we usually ignore the many sensors that are constantly active in it, while inviting to explore new movements, achieving a sense of strange embodied presence, of yourself (your muscular sense) expanded in the mesh (you become the avatar, the avatar moves you, both indeterminately), and of the remote interactor, only visible through her abstract avatar: a experiment towards an embodied internet or Bodynet and a reversal of the Internet of Bodies as reductive control system.

In a tribute to the final journey in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the piece proposes that the journey beyond the infinite, towards a new mutation as species, is actually inside the body, in our neglected capacity to move with the world and to sense ourselves and our surroundings in always new ways. The combinatory of our joints is larger than the number of atoms in the universe. BI (Body Intelligence) and not AI is the promise for restoring a damaged Planetary Health and stopping the current mass extinction cycle, taking evolution into unprecedented variations.  The piece also challenges the dominant obsession with control and proposes ways to bring back indeterminacy into movement, as condition for regaining a lost richness of embodied experience within our aligned geometric environments, a machine for behavioral divergence. This “metagame” is just the starting point for the planetary disalignment, and it subvert aesthetics of control in gaming and VR, towards an Indeterminate Reality (IR) that invites us to regain a lost plasticity.

The project plays ironically with the idea of creating a massive app… for disaligning from the smartphone.