MAGNETIC BODY INSTRUMENT

2016

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 and developed electromagnetic instruments, the artist designs a human-machine ecosystem that allows him to sense and feel his instruments during performance, where musician and instrument become one.

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. 

In the following two sections - Body Hacking and Instrumental Design, presents some of the research, experimentation and prototypes explored for the development of this project.

This project was performed at the "++ Audiovisual Interactive International Forum in Shanghai held by the China Academy of Art. The work was also presented at the accompanying conference. The documentary film of this work and the designed instruments were also exhibited at the Shenzhen New Media Festival between 2015-2016.

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

BODY HACKING

Body hacking and modification for enhanced bodily sensation and function has always been an area of interest for me. In preparation of this project, I researched basic methods of modification for 20months, looking into different anesthesia, what is available and safe, learning about quantity of anesthesia and it's relationship with duration of numbing sensation, what types of magnets may be safe to embed into the human body both in size and material, and what are the best tools and methods of slipping the magnet into an open wound. My procedure utilized lidocaine and gold plated 1mm thick miniature circular magnets. Medical grade magnets (titanium coated 52N magnets) that I had researched prior were out of stock and not available to me at the time of this project.

The documentary documents the embedding of magnets into three of my fingers, performed by myself. After a period of 2 weeks, I was able to feel sensations of magnetic fields or pulls in my finger tips triggered by high voltage power cables in walls or metal objects. Unfortunately, due to lack of access to medical grade magnets, the implants were ultimately rejected by my body after 2 months time. 

This is a first attempt at body modification, and I hope to experiment more in this area.

Directed by Benjamin Bacon

Shot by Andrew Rochfort

Edited by Vivian Xu

2016

INSTRUMENT DESIGN

The Dogma Dual Axis Mono Synthesizer or DDAMS-1, is an open source Arduino based 2 voice granular mono-synth with a customized dual-axis accelerometer human musical interface, midi in, line level out and programmable controller. This was one of the music instruments I designed and fabricated to perform with my modified body and an array of other audio and visual hardware controllers. 

This instrument is an earlier experimentation of my attempts to disrupt the performative behavior, interaction and perception of musician and instrument, especially within electronic music.

DDAMS-1 Prototype 1, 2015

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