This small, ox-blood red leather handbag, around the age of my own body, continually moves, contracting and relaxing, just like my own beating heart. In an era where sounds and music can be beat-matched perfectly to machine rhythms, Ventricle moves at a varying tempo, one that copies a live human signal.
This exhibit is an attempt to show something internal, individualistic and affective, by animating a mass-produced object. Version 1 of Ventricle was displayed at the Kinetica Art Fair, February 2011, as part of the ArtHertz collective. It was then requested for The Story so Far, an exhibition in the House of Fairy Tales, London (established by artists Deborah Curtis and Gavin Turk).
Ventricle was also the inspiration for Trace – a more extensive R&D project, with Pervasive Media Studio, funded by Arts Council England. As part of Trace, I attempted to hook Ventricle up to the latests off-the-peg heartbeat sensors, enabling it to entrain perfectly with the observer’s own heartbeat.
Here’s some rough and ready video, captured on my mobile at the Kinetica Art Fair, Februrary 2011. Here, you can also see some fine wearable electronics on the stands behind me – this was created by Rain Ashford. The other exhibit on the ArtHertz stand, by Andrew Back, is just out of shot. It used variations in the frequency of the mains supply to estimate how many people were making tea and drawing power from the National Grid.