The Dance Neurale performance is all about body hacking — bringing flesh, plastic, and steel on stage together and making them express together as a single organism. It is a collaboration between SPECTRE (the computer programmer Enrico Viola + the musician Stefano Moscardini) and Lukas Zpira. Enrico handles the software and the visuals, Stefano works on the sound design, and Lukas performs onstage.
Several wireless sensors are attached to Lukas’ body: an EEG headset, a breath microphone, and a modified stethoscope. Two hooks (ouch!) are inserted under his skin and connected to a winch. The biometric signals are collected then sent to the software that parses them in real time to control the audio and the visuals. As the winch starts to pull Lukas’ flesh, the generated neurological response becomes a biomechanical feedback: two huge wings made with Lukas’ EEG graph grow from his shoulders and flap as his body is lifted off the ground.
By controlling his heart rate, breathing and alpha-wave brain patterns, Lukas can create a complete audio-visual output. His involuntary autonomous body responses to stress provide the basic material for the projection, but these images and sounds are transformed as he focuses in a meditative state to consciously influence those responses.
The singular art-piece produced with the images and sounds stands as a metaphor for the physical and psychic experience of the performer.
This is the Danse Neurale performance at Borderline Biennale 2011. The team has tweaked the performance since then and has begun traveling.
Image credit: Patrick Siboni