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electronics, magnets, body modification

collaborators (in performance): LoN

The Magnetic Body Instrument looks at the human body as an interface and experiments with ways of hacking the body for the purpose of musical expression and performance. By embedding magnets into his fingers and working his hands in combination with custom designed electromagnetic instruments, the artist/musician creates a human-machine ecosystem that allows him to sense and feel his instruments during performance, where musician and instrument become one.


Performance images at the ++ Audiovisual Interaction International Forum in Shanghai, with performance support from Loads~Nothing.

++ Audiovisual Interaction International Forum performance video. (20min 8sec)


In preparation of the performance, the artist researched basic methods of body hacking and modification, including: 

  • different types of anesthesia and their affects

  • what is available and safe for non-medical professionals

  • quantities of anesthesia and it’s correlation with duration

  • types of magnets that may be safe to embed into the human body 

  • best tools and protocols for injection 


The final procedure utilized lidocaine and gold plated 1mm thick miniature circular magnets. Medical grade magnets (titanium coated 52N magnets) at the time were unavailable.


The documentary documents the embedding of magnets into three fingers, performed by the artist himself. After a period of two weeks, the artist was able to feel sensations of magnetic pulls within his fingertips triggered by magnetic fields from high voltage power cables in walls or metal objects. Unfortunately, due to a lack of access to medical grade magnets, the implants were ultimately rejected by the artist’s body after two months. 

Testing magnetic finger after implant. Clip from documentary. (22sec)

Body hacking documentary, embedding of magnets. (Contains bloody scenes) (11min 32sec)

Credits: Benjamin Bacon (art direction), Andrew Rochfort (camera), Vivian Xu (editing), 2016


The Dogma Dual Axis Mono Synthesizer (DDAMS-1) was designed and created as part of The Magnetic Body Instrument and is controlled by interacting with the implanted magnets by way of cutting through electromagnetic fields around the instrument. The DDAMS-1 is an open-source Arduino-based two voice granular mono-synth with a customized dual-axis accelerometer human musical interface, midi in, line level out and programmable controller. The controller is designed to also accommodate for traditional instrumental use. 


DDAMS-1 Prototype 2, 2016 (front and back view)

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