[EG] I think that if I try to do this work like a big performance work it wouldn’t succeed. It is more about compressing as opposed to expanding. The robotic work that I worked on before, for example, was more about expanding the signals and sending them out in the space. I think this work is more local somehow, if I can actually get people focused on themselves and having them feel that the sound somehow belongs to them, it will make the work stronger than if I put two random people on the spot and tell them ‘ok, suddenly you are performing for the whole gallery, go!’. I feel it more like a kind of scientific experiment that needs to take 20 minutes, or another analogy that can be made is like a booking at the spa. [...] I don’t think it would work that well if it was just a piece of fabric on a table that was like ‘wrap yourself in the fabric’. People would sit down, wrap themselves in it, and then leave. There’s something about this ritual in this ‘new age-ish’ come and take the treatment that kind of makes it work a little bit better.
[HHR] One question is that of the framing, or the staging of the piece versus the retroaction on your kind of research. I mean, if one is needed for the other, what are the properties of the one that allow you to develop something afterwards. There is of course this arrow that goes from you, or your proposal, to the people that participate, but I’m more curious about the opposite direction, what are your expectations and motivations. I’m just wondering how you imagine that could lead to something, if there is a specific thing you would like to observe, or if there is a specific aspect that you are mostly interested in in seeing the people using the piece.
[EG] I think I’m interested in somehow charting whether people actually feel more or less embodied as a result of listening to the sound, if they have any reaction whatsoever. Relaxation is an interesting word. I think it is funny when you pick a set of words to actually chart, you just want to pick like an open-ended set almost, because you want something that most people can agree on. I think embodiment and relaxation are things that most people can relate to or understand.
[HHR] I’m interested in understanding how the situation that somebody else is doing that with their bodies changes your relation to the piece, as opposed to this other situation where you are using your own measurements in prototyping or building it. You were saying previously that maybe you could ask people to fill out forms or something. Somehow you want to have feedback from somebody else about this configuration ...
[EG] I think it’s because it is very new. And normally when you are making a new work you do invite people to your studio, ask them what they get out of it. I think media art often is presented to people in electronic art festivals as this very expensive thing that someone spent two years of their life on. I’ve been thinking about how the process could just be opened up a bit more.
I’m maybe looking for strategies for presenting media art as a sketch or as a try or as something that’s in flux and finding ways for articulating that, getting feedback and maybe collecting and analyzing data somehow.
[DP] The most interesting thing probably would be that you observe what’s happening in the session, instead of having an analysis of what is going on. Because, I mean, you are connecting two people there: it is the most interesting part here.
[EG] Yeah, that’s kind of what I’m trying to think, how to contextualize this: the connection is what is interesting to me. I don’t really love the idea of looming over them while it happens, but maybe I could just sit there and observe.