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Stunning Biofeedback Performance Returns a Dancer to the Womb

Hungarian artists connect ECG and pulse sensors to an LED sculpture to create what they call a "light uterus."
May 11, 2016, 1:45pm
A still from Birth by Réka Harsányi and Dóra Ida Szücs. Photo courtesy of the artists.

For most people, the idea of returning to the womb is an out-there Freudian tenet, but for Réka Harsányi and Dóra Ida Szücs, two Hungarian artists interested in biofeedback, the womb is the perfect setting for their experimental dance performance, Birth, which explores how the body can be used to communicate without words.

The performer lays on the floor, hooked up to ECG and pulse sensors, and surrounded by a strip of fabric filled with LED lights. The sensors use the data of her pulse, and movements in her arms and chest, to control the ebb and flow of the enclosing lights, which the creators call a “light uterus.” She never leaves the halo for the duration of the performance, entering instead into a dialogue with the symbolic womb as it responds to her movements. In turn, she alters her performance to play with possible responses.

BIRTH - biofeedback performance 2016 from Reka Harsanyi on Vimeo.

Harsányi and Szücs work together as part of the Connected Bodies Team, an experimental, multimedia trio of artists working with brainwaves, biofeedback, and interactivity. Birth was inspired by Samuel Beckett’s I Gave Up Before Birth. In the artists’ words, they are “using technology to creatively reinterpret the imperceptible of the unseen life.” The performance explores ideas of the biologically unseen; things that happen inside us, like muscle movements, heartbeats, and obviously gestation and birth.


Find out more about the Connected Bodies Team on their website.


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