Contextualising: Alrey Batol’s ‘Touch Machine’
Did you catch GOMA’s feature exhibition on performance art?? ‘Trace: Performance and its Documents.” Does this video jog your memory?
Within Trace there was a piece that uses a similar electrical process, as Batol’s ‘Touch Machine.’
It is Joyce Hinterding’s “Large ULAM VLF Loop.”
Essentially in Hinterding’s work your body is completing an extra extra low volatge circuit between the alligator clip and the graphite on the wall, and in Batol’s work your body is completing an extra extra low voltage circuit with somebody else’s body as each of you you hold onto a knob. Technically, you could use two bodies in Hinterding’s work also, but it is set up for solo interaction with just one set of headphones.
Artist: Joyce Hinterding
Title: Large Ulam VLF loop (graphite) 2011
Review on Hinterding’s work here
“Pop on the headphones and then touch the graphite pattern that is painted on the wall. As a naturally very curious person I found this intriguing, and I find that point where science and art meet fascinating. I spent at least 8 minutes touching different parts of the pattern, to see how the sound coming through the headphones was affected.
I had a very interesting sensation immediately after taking off the cans. The buzzing continued in my ears for a few minutes, which was very disorienting in the quiet environment of the gallery. While I had been immersed in the artwork with the headphones on, as soon as they came off and I looked away, it was as if I’d just woken from a deep sleep, with earplugs in and I still couldn’t hear anything.
I enjoyed this artwork as it is not often that I am invited to interact with a piece, and while the sounds were not pleasant to listen to, it was interesting to hear the changes according to where I placed my hands, and sometimes face.”
PERIL magazine’s Eleanor Jackson had this to say about Batol’s work Read more here
“Batol, a multi-disciplinary artist with intersecting interests across the mediums of intervention, new media and sculpture, will be presenting the interactive installation, Touch Machine. Drawing upon some of Batol’s signature approaches to exploiting technology for unpredicted ends, the work features hacked technologies that provide sonic response to incidents of human touch.
The tactile and the technological provide delicious contrast and congruence for modern-day audiences. On one hand, video games, mobile devices and personal computers all employ haptic feedback in increasingly ubiquitous and normalized ways. On the other hand, human touching and feeling, and the accompanying social interactivity implied in physical touch – particularly between strangers – seems to present something more dangerous and unexpected. Our phones may be on vibrate for each other, but when it comes down to it, Batol asks “how ready are we to touch and what do we expect will happen?”
What do you think about Alrey Batol’s work?
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