Man Machine (MMII)

About Man Machine (MMII)

A performance installation collaboration with Mathew Allen.

In MMII, the audience is invited to physically interact with a performer connected to the piece through brainwave, pulse rate, temperature, movement and galvanic skin response (lie detector) sensors.

The performer’s body naturally reacts to the audience inputs, and it is these natural biological responses that are recorded by the sensors and visualised behind him for the audience to see.

The piece explores theorist Marshall McLuhan’s idea that modern technology had outered the brain and nervous system from existing purely within the human body. This still-accelerating process of humans “outsourcing” physical and mental functions has accelerated with the rise of digital technology, and thus continues to produce huge cognitive changes.

But one barrier strongly remains between humanity and its technology: physical bodies.

Through the interactions of the audience, the installation merges the physical attributes of the human and the computer, generating a visualisation which highlights the human body as the ultimate interface – and the ultimate barrier – for human-computer interaction.


How Man Machine (MMII) was made

MMII uses five sensors to read the biorhythms from the human performed – brainwave, pulse rate, temperature, galvanic skin response and movement.

It passes these readings through an Arduino and feeds them into an OpenFrameworks script that generates the 3D visualisation projected behind the performer.