Cocky Eek’s Tactile Research Lab’s “Get in Touch” exhibit invites the public to create sounds by touching the backs of nude people in an effort to help people “question the way an interface influences behavior.”
Essentially, the “instrument” is made up of a large cylindrical shape of fabric – openings in the fabric show various bits of peoples’ nude backs who are naked inside the cylinder. Each of the five performers is attached to a circuit bent radio and cracklebox, which is attached to a speaker. People who want to interact with the instrument are invited to come up and touch the skin showing through the openings, creating various sounds. If you touch more than one person’s back, a virtual connection is made between the crackleboxes, which starts the sound. The sounds change based on the amount of pressure applied.
“This warm instrument questions the way an interface changes our behaviour. As soon as you start playing, something very strange happens; you forget that you’re touching a human. Somehow this almost sensual action of touching someone’s naked back, is transformed into an a-sexual action and that body into an object.”
“When you stop interacting however, you suddenly realize that you were actually quite intimate with the people inside the installation, and suddenly the objects of the interface you were just playing with, become human again.”