Body Interfaces: zero-level elevation

Outdoor performance intervention near the sea-coast in Bergen.

Body Interfaces is an artistic performance research by Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen that combines working with the body and (as) materiality in the tradition of site-specific performance art with an understanding of the body derived through a methodology coming from technology. The interface in Body Interfaces is inscribed in the body’s relation to the environment and the actions that it partakes in, with the body as an embodied technology in itself. It is a proposition to go beyond the mere body/machine dichotomy, the traditionally known Human Computer Interface and the contemporary more ubiquitous interface approach still depending on computer hardware and software. Instead the research aims at a representation and understanding of the interface as a crucial part of experiencing and sensing in everyday life, through and with the body. What distinguishes this research from pure everyday interactions is the knowledge derived from our own use and experience in a technologized society. In that way the understanding of the interface qualities of everyday interaction has changed. We now engage with the world, with our body as also technology that interfaces and activates relations through everyday practices. Body Interfaces researches in the physical sensations and meeting points that the body has with the surroundings, inspired by tools and methods coming from studying the body in technology with the concept of the interface as its main focus point.

Site-specificity is an essential part of the Body Interfaces research, where the site is the departure point and data-feeder for the performances and interventions. In the site-specific interactions of Body Interfaces, it is not the visual qualities of the actions, which are the main focus points, but the engagement with a chosen environment, where the senses become important catalysts for the interaction and meeting points with the site as a vital part of the interfacing process and the data exchange between site and body. The senses are here functioning as a mediator for experience and giving information based on the structures, which are being interacted with, here being interfaced.

The Body Interfaces concept sees the body as a cell-driven technology that can be used to gather information about the environment. It can be used for threshold experiences and surface sample-taking in a practice of data mining with the body as a prime tool. Body Interfaces wish to challenge and incorporate specific formats and terminologies inherent from technology and scientific practices; creating a DIY, open and analogue approach to these.

For the performance intervention at Piksel 2016, Body Interfaces will be used to challenge and work with the scientific concept of “zero-level elevation” (equaling the sea-level), used to map surfaces in topography. The departure point will be a site specific intervention on a selected area nearby the sea in Bergen. This method will be challenged as a performance concept and instrument to gather information from the Body Interfaces interactions performed on site. The data collected will be notated as a part of the performance as well as samples will be gathered for further use. The performance wish to challenge scientific methods and concepts as well as introduce new ways to structure and collect information, where chance and failure are accepted conceptions of the performative process.

The first part of the Body Interfaces research has so far been carried out as a series of performances and interventions that are actively dealing with the threshold and agency of interaction, creating a methodology as well as defining a framework for this investigation; translating signals through interaction in and with the chosen sites. These experiments have been undertaken primarily in nature, dealing with the environment and its relation to the body, performed mainly in Iceland in May, October and November 2015 during two artistic residencies. Additionally a performance was made for the Electropixel Festival in Nantes (FR) in August 2015, where the urban environment was challenged and thus gave an interest in the more political implications of the interaction itself. For the latter the performed actions were scripted through live notation, where the experience was translated into a score; written as an analogue live coding sequence with a potential to be re-performed in another context. The latest performances have been exploring spatial qualities of spaces, at Wolfart Project Space in Rotterdam (NL) in March 2016 and latest as a week long durational processual scripting at the performance space Grüntaler9 in Berlin (DE). The research was additionally presented at the Interface Politics International Conference in Barcelona (ES), organized by and Gredits in April 2016.

Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen
Independent artist and researcher

Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen is a Danish, Berlin-based independent artist researcher and curator, who works in the intersection between performance art and technology. She hold a Master of Arts in Art History from Aarhus University (DK) as well as having an education from the College of Arts Crafts and Design in Nørresundby (DK), where she began studying performance art in 1999. Madsen’s research deals with theory as well as practice and how these can intertwine as inseparable entities. The main focus points of her work and research are: performative practices, post-humanism and genders studies, internet-based art and networked performance, site specificity, system aesthetics, open technology and sound.

Madsen has presented her work internationally in various forms and contexts. Her Body Interfaces artistic research has been performed e. g. at the Fljótstunga Artist Residency in Iceland, the Electropixel Festival in Nantes (FR), Wolfart Project Space in Rotterdam (NL), at Grüntaler9 in Berlin (DE), presented at the Interface Politics International Conference in Barcelona organized by and Gredits, and latest at the exhibition space Spanien 19C (DK). Madsen has additionally been a curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde (DK), a contributor to the anthology Cybermuseology published by Aarhus University Press as well as she lectures for Node Center for Curatorial Studies in Berlin (DE).