Sy5z3n_3 : Ohm Overdub / Medi(a)tation for Generative Respiration


The introduction of custom machines into performance art has been well-established since the early 20th century, an extension of communication that anticipated cybernetic extensions of the body. During the 1990s, in particular, performative groups labeled as ‘cyberpunk’ like La Fura dels Baus, Mutoid Waste Company and Survival Research Laboratories were staging extreme gestures between men and machines in wide-open spaces, using DIY constructions and body extensions. Since then, artists’ prosthetics have become part of more intimate performances or installations. Lee Blalock works with abstractions of the body from a ‘post-human’ perspective. She builds wearable devices that serve both as sound instrument and bodily augmentation. Take, for example, NeueEar, an audio-robotic device to fight ‘misophonia’ (sounds triggering what are perceived as unreasonable emotional or physiological responses), or those in “Notation for Neue Movement Fidelity”, acting as ‘drawing prosthetics’ to let dancers draw with their body. Her “Sy5z3n_3 : Ohm Overdub / Medi(a)tation for Generative Respiration” is the third embodiment of the “sy5z3n“ series of performances. It uses the “Instr/augment system”, a custom device enabling ‘guided live meditations’. The trio (with Lori Felker and Rebby Montalvo – aka TNKRT) engaging with the instrument act like an ensemble, while the device enables the robotic play of sounding parts and the inflation of rubber elements. Small OLED displays on the mouthpiece show meditative poetic texts. Acted publicly, and with a public downloadable script, the performance uses wearable devices as a hybrid communication tool and musical instrument. As a body extension, they take over some part of the performers’ face, while allowing different sounds and noises to be produced, in conjunction with a textual composition and kinetic elements. Here, the self-imposed constrains of the machine formulate a different ‘language’ used in a collective gesture.





Lee Blalock – sy5z3n_3: Ohm Overdub / Medi(a)tation for Generative Respiration