Music for Flesh II
Music for Flesh II is an art piece by Marco Donnarumma that focuses on the inner workings of the body. In 2011 Donnaruma created the Xth Sense, a biosensor that is able to sense the different movements and interactions of the human body, without having an effect on it. Through the Xth sense, Donnarumma is able to use the body like an instrument in Music for Flesh II. This visual performance has no pre-recorded sound bites; instead, the sensor uses the oscillations of muscle movements, blood flow, friction of the flesh, feeds that into the computer and creates the music. There are variations in the types of sounds, loudness, vibrations, and density of sound. Donnarumma stands in a dark room, with a spotlight on him, he moves different parts of his body in changing movements and patterns.
"The XS sensors capture the low-frequency acoustic vibrations produced by a performer’s body and send them to the computer as an audio input. The XS software analyzes the MMG in order to extract the characteristics of the movements, such as dynamics of a single gesture, maximum amplitude of a series of gestures in time, etc." Donnarumma, Marco From Your Body to Music: Interview with Biophysical Xth Sense Interface Creator . Interview by Peter Kirn (2012, March 13).
Music for Flesh II is so fluid that the body truly becomes the instrument, the sounds that people normally cannot hear are able to become music, which was the goal of the artist to create. The idea of the piece was to break the boundary of the human body being silent. It is often taken for granted how much goes on within the skin of human bodies and how much beauty the body creates if it is given the correct microphone. Donnarumma has created an instrument not around the human but for the human body. The movements throughout the piece are very fluid and organic in order to show the grace of what goes on throughout the human body. There is no need for backflips or eccentrics because the sounds that the body creates are already impressive and new on their own.
Erasing the boundary between contracting a muscle in the bio-physical realm and producing electronic sound in the virtual realm is what Xth Sense is all about... . Kirn, Peter (2012, March 13)From Your Body to Music: Interview with Biophysical Xth Sense Interface Creator .
Marco Donnarumma is breaking into a new territory with his art pieces around his Xth sense. There have been electro sensors that could read the magnetic sensors that the body makes, but Donnarumma is groundbreaking in the ability to listen to the body and then project the music that it creates. The human body has, of course, always been a part of the art world, but now has the opportunity to be heard in a new and beautiful way. Looking at the kickstarter page for Donnarumma's Xth sense, there are so many different artistic outlets being created from this kind of biosensor; so many different forms of art can be explored deeper by understanding what is happening in the body while they take place. Music for Flesh II is going to have a major impact on art and technology to come.
Donnarumma's Nigredo is another example of how to create art based on what is happening within the human body. Nigredo is a personal experience where a person is sat in a small, darkened. The "visitor" wears an Xth sense biosensor on his or her heart, along with infrasound devices. The Xth sense captures the sounds of the heartbeat, blood flow and muscle contractions, then those sounds are altered digitally and expressed back to the visitors both through audio and visual stimuli. Nigredo is able to amplify what the "visitor's" body is going through when feeling alone. Many of the participants said they felt watched or that something was in the room with them. Nigredo is a way to truly understand what happens to the human body when feeling a certain way. The fear or anxiety when in this dark room is amplified in a new way to improve the individual's understanding, and create a new experience based on one's own body. Nigredo and Music for Flesh II are both great examples of how to use the human body in new ways.
Eunoia II is a piece by Lisa Pak that also uses biosensors, but she uses an EEG sensors to create sound waves from the artist's mind. Both Pak and Donnarumma create music from these different waves in real time. Pak's music is from the different thoughts and emotions. Pak focuses on the idea of taking invisible energy and making it visual. She places plates with water on top of the different speakers as they represent sadness, anger, hatred, desire, and happiness. Both Eunoia II and Music for Flesh II create these organic environments that would otherwise go unnoticed.
One final piece that uses sensors is Smoke Dress by Anouk Wippecht. Wippecht, a high-fashion designer believes that the fashion industry need more micro controllers and sensors. Her art piece detects what is going on in the personal space around the wearer of the dress, and changes the appearance of the dress. The dress will let out smoke to create a boundary between the wearer and those who are approaching. No matter how they are used, sensors are able to create a new layer to artwork that was not there before. Donnarumma's piece uses what is happening in the body and Wippecht's dress uses what is happening just outside of it. These different artworks show how the possibilities that sensors produce are continuing to grow.