Friday, June 11, 2010

Two Upcoming Events at Observatory by Torino:Margolis

Morbid Anatomy is very pleased to present an electricity-and-the-body-on-display themed lecture and performance pairing by Torino:Margolis. Event number one, a lecture entitled "Electricity and the Body in Public Performance," will investigate over 250 years of electricity and the body in spectacular scientific performance via an illustrated historical lecture. Event number two will explore the same rich territory via a historically informed interactive performance. Hope you can make it to one or both of these amazing sounding events!
Electricity and the Body in Public Performance
An illustrated lecture by Torino:Margolis
Date: June 15, 2010
Time: 8:00 P.M.
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Beginning with the first known public performance by Stephen Gray in 1729 and continuing through the present, scientists and artists have been exploring electricity and the human body for hundreds of years. The innate electrical potential of the human body, electricity as a medium of destruction and using outside electricity to manipulate the body have been served as conceptual fodder throughout this rich history. Although the collaboration between the arts and sciences may seem recent, due to its popularization in the media and 20th century art movements such as Bioart, the connection between these two groups have existed for centuries. Benjamin Margolis, MD and Jenny Torino, MS, RD current tinkerers in both worlds, will take you through the history of public performances in this arena and discuss how it relates to their own work using invasive electronics and the body.


Torino:Margolis Performance

A performative exploration of electricity, biomedicine, and spectacle
Date: June 29, 2010
Time: 8:00 P.M.
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Tonight, join Observatory as it hosts Torino:Margolis in a three-part performance investigating the rich history of biomedicine, electricity, and spectacle. First, the audience will have the opportunity to control the movement of the performer using neuromuscular stimulation, which sends outside electricity into the performer’s muscle, forcing their muscle to contract and the performer to move involuntarily.

In the second part of the performance, they will use electromyography (EMG) in a sound-based performance. EMG is a way of sensing the electricity produced naturally during muscle contraction when an individual moves voluntarily. However, when the performer is physically manipulated by another person there is no action potential generated, no signal sensed by the EMG, and no change in the sound is produced. In this way you can hear someone’s free will.

In the third portion they will add a vocal component to the EMG “rig” by manipulating sound coming from the vocal cords using neuromuscular stimulation.

Torino:Margolis will then explain the workings of the biomedical tools used in the performance and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Torino:Margolis is a performance art team that smashes through physical and psychological barriers separating one body from another using invasive electronics and biomedical tools. They explore the idea that the self is transient, elusive and modular by playing with the notion of control and free will. Their extraction of physiological processes concretizes these concepts and presents them as questions to the viewer — not to illustrate the mechanism, but to explore the experience. The team has performed nationally and internationally at New York venues such as Issue Project Room, POSTMASTERS Gallery and Exit Art, the HIVE Gallery in California, and the Bergen Kunsthall Museum in Norway. They have lectured for institutions such as SUNY Stony Brook and the School of Visual Arts. For more information please see
You can find out more about these presentation here and here. You can get directions to Observatory--which is next door to the Morbid Anatomy Library (more on that here)--by clicking here. You can find out more about Observatory here, join our mailing list by clicking here, and join us on Facebook by clicking here.

1 comment:

Oscar Devonian said...

Hi, what's the background of the image used in this post? I am curious and disconcerted.