Watch the above before reading on. I was naively (or not so) under a certain misapprehension: i thought that Daito Manabe, the star of the above video, was triggering sounds using his facial muscles. That is, the objects attached to his face were some sort of motion sensors (perhaps accelerometers would do the trick, my knowledge of complex sensors is lacking here) and thus the apparent blink of an eyelid or twitch of the upper lip would send out a digital signal and voila!: hook up a computer and these facial movements could easily be converted into midi (and/or osc) signals to trigger live audio and/or video using your music/video production application of choice.

I was shocked by how fascinating the correlation between sounds and movement were and the choices made as to which sounds to attach to each part of the face. Of course this all before it dawned upon me that this is not what is happening. In fact, quite the opposite. Each sounds sends out an electric signal which is evidently hardwired directly to our friend Daito’s face and, in essence, his muscular and nervous systems. An electric shock thus creates a small, highly visible spasm. This is potentially more shocking and less artistically interesting than what i originally thought was happening. But i’m not actually sure. I feel conflicted.

Now what if we had both systems just described working in conjunction: one person using their muscles to trigger sound and these very sounds then translated into electric pulses hardwired INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S NERVOUS SYSTEM. Is this potentially the future of puppetry? And if there were not necessarily a one-to-one identifiable correlation between the twitcher and the twitchees: a cheekflex could result in a flailing leg, a nodding head could create a breakdance.

Could this be the future of DJing? No longer spinning records or even beatmixing MP3s as seems to commonly occur these days, but a disc jockey making music with his entire body and also choreographing the audience’s dance, drum rolls necessarily accompanied by strained muscular pirrouettes each and every time they occur, horn stabs forcing folk to jump in the air, certain digital sounds heard and the whole floor does the robot. At the push of a button the DJ could make everyone applaud… Anyone?

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