Seiko Mikami "World, Membrane and the Dismembered Body" [1-1]
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Premiere version 1.0 : the permanent collection of ICC-Inter Communication Center, Tokyo, 1997 April - .
This project takes place in an anechoic room and uses a computer and various measuring devices to gauge the body's internal sounds. The sounds of the body's internal organs are amplified and transformed within this space to present a "perception-driven architecture." With the exhibition visitor's ear serving as the interface to the audible noises that his/her own body emits, feedback is produced. In addition, the sounds of the heart, lungs, and pulse beat that are numericized by the computer act as parameters to form a continuously transforming 3-D polygon mesh expressing sounds and images in the anechoic room. Therein , two situations are effected in real time: the slight sounds produced by the body itself reverberate the body's internal membranes, and the transfigured resonance of that sound is amplified in the anechoic room; a time-lag exists in this process. Neither the body nor the environment is cast as the object of representation; rather, the "ear" that intervenes signifies a kind of inter-medium that serves as the perceptual link, or code, between the acoustic sense and the space of the room. This in between "ear" is the abstract expression of the work's claim that "the ear is not merely a thing that hears; the eye is not merely a thing that sees".
Here, the ear/acoustic sense, a fragment of the exhibition visitor's body, serves as a circuit for unfixed data--such as the heart tone, a psychological affect, that is employed according to the second-to-second changes in mental images. Thus, a fundamental gap is born between the body's response, when the heart is made to palpitate and undergo change in the anechoic room, and its result as expressed in the movement of sounds emitted from the body. When the body's heart beat is thrown off course by an intervention from the outside, the desire arises to try to control the sounds that the body emits. A gap occurs between this event and the resulting desire; thus, the visitor is overcome by the feeling that a part of his corporeality is under erasure. The visitor exists as abstract data, only his perceptual sense is aroused. The visitor is made conscious of the disappearance of the physical contours of his subjectivity and thereby experiences being turned into a fragmented body.
(2)The Body's Internal Noise and the Anechoic Room
The anechoic room is a special space where sound does not reverberate. Yet
it is not silence but sound that exists in this space; that of the body's own internal noise. If the visitor remains in the anechoic room for a long time he is given the illusion of being dominated by the sounds of the body's pulse beat and membranes. In listening to the sounds that reverberate against the body's membranes--sounds generated by heart beat, lungs, pulse beat and the rumblings of the stomach--the visitor realizes: "I myself produce noise." One could say that the heart beat itself is the most fundamental form of self-expression.
In creating this computer program I attempted to address the effect of numericized processes on perception and the body, and in so doing I have once again been reminded of the widespread ambiguities inherent in the perceptual world. The parameters of the heart beat are always shifting and because this program is based on each visitor's "conscious" state, the visitor's expectations are repeatedly broken down during the experience. With regard to the body's acoustic sense, the body's internal noise is something that exists prior to the body itself . The act of forming one's self is instigated by listening to one's own internal sounds with one's own ears. The ears mediate the space that exists between the self and the body. The visitor's presence in the anechoic room can be considered analogous to the way the heart exists within the body; yet, in this instance, the visitor does not have the visual stimulus of being able to see the body's interior. It is an acoustic experience more than anything else, one in which the visitor becomes more than usually aware of the ear. Ultimately, the visitor has the impression of being inside a huge ear.