The exploits and musings of an artist-acupuncturist, lecturer and researcher at CoDE, Cambridge School of Art, Cambridge, UK.

Pulse Project Performance: ‘Digital Futures’ at the V&A 11/2/2013

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Images of participants appear with consent

Pulse Project was presented at the V&A’s event: ‘Digital Futures’ at the Sackler Centre together with the works of Hayden Jones and Jonathan Munro, Luci Eldrige, Dionysia Mylonaki and Pollie Barden and Chloe Varelidi – which was a fantastic opportunity to present my research at CoDE to a wider audience alongside the latest postgraduate research from Goldsmiths, the RCA and Queen Mary, University of London.

Pulse Project is an ongoing digital performance research series that critically examines the contemporary interfaces between the humanities, medicine, and technology. Pulse Project interrogates the aesthetic and philosophical axioms that underpin contemporary medicine, technology and cognitive embodiment through exploring of their corollary “Others” – pre-modern Chinese medicine and music theory. Using performance-as-research as a methodology, I embody creative research practice through becoming an instrument or medium between myself and others and between cultural traditions for understanding and mediating the body, thereby creating a unique form of research that is able to bridge: a) pre-modern practices with contemporary practices, b) Occidental and Asian approaches to the body and c) the sciences with the humanities.

During the composing process, I try to faithfully reflect my clinical and intuitive impressions of  each participant’s interior waveform landscape through years of experience as a Chinese Medicine practitioner, making clinical notes and graphic notations. Each SuperCollider soundscape is a bespoke algorithmic composition made specifically for each participant and is tailored to respond to the uniqueness of the participant taking part in the research. Each composition is constructed to both mirror participant’s pulses according to Chinese Pulse Diagnostics, yet therapeutic aspects (tones) are applied to the composition to promote health and well-being – specific to what each participant’s pulse indicates is needed. I am of course not providing a medical ‘diagnosis’ in this study, each soundscape forms a sort of musical ‘prescription’ that aims to promote well-being – according to Chinese Medicine therapeutic principles. Compositions aim to ‘harmonise’ the 5 pitches of the pulse, Gong (261.6 Hz), Shang (293.7 Hz), Jiao (329.6 Hz), Zhi (392.0 Hz) and Yu (440.0 Hz).

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You can see/hear the new SuperCollider compositions (by March 15th) – or SC compositions of past performances at: 

Some more pics:

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Michelle Lewis-King (foreground) with Hayden Jones and Jonathan Munro (background)

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A Pulse Composition Graphic Notation

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Michelle Lewis-King talking with Irini Papadimitriou (writer, curator and organiser of the Digital Futures event) and Dionysia Mylonaki (background)

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