Installation view - Platform Arts Gallery, Belfast, 2013

Video projection, sound, computational & interactive media, video camera, light, laptop, muslin. 2013.

Membrane is a body responsive installation that explores affective relations and complicates bodily boundaries. The work is centred around the exposition of something that is ordinarily perceived interoceptively—the beating heart— using the exteroceptive percepts of sound and vibration. A contact-free pulse sensing technology extracts this intimate, affecting and vital rhythm of life from the private sphere and translates how it varies into a form that is publicly perceivable.

When a participant’s face is detected the amplified auditory feedback is accompanied by a manipulated live video portrait of the participant under scrutiny projected onto a translucent muslin curtain. This membrane is the site through which the participant’s personal investigation is made explicit.  As the participant interacts with their projected self questions are raised as to what is authentic and what is performed. The work draws on historically constituted therapeutic discourses of the camera, inciting participants to act out their ‘symptoms’ under their own ‘clinical gaze’. Those co-experiencing the work are also invited to inhabit a diagnostic viewing position. Membrane turns the spotlight on affect to dramatise the tension between the performance of self and the construction of therapeutic theatre that permeates the installation. It challenges perspectives of the audience as the disinterested viewer, the activated spectator or the passive consumer of art, recognising that relations of spectatorship have to be constantly redefined.