Make Art, Music And Even Dance Without Lifting A Finger

Make Art, Music And Even Dance Without Lifting A Finger

Forward-leaning projects that are helping us rethink the body’s physical relationship with digital technology.

  • 11 august 2013

As part of our ongoing Future of Entertainment series, we’re digging through the archives of Intel and Vice’s Creators Project to uncover real world examples of our entertainment trends in action. Over the next 10 weeks, we’ll be shining the spotlight on cool projects from artists who are helping to define what the next generation of entertainment experiences will look like.

Morning comes and your alarm clock starts blaring. Forcing your eyes wide open, you give it a wink and it instantly switches to snooze. It’ll turn off fully when it senses that you’ve left bed. Looking at the ceiling, you focus on the lights and they slowly change in intensity until they reach the perfect ambiance to start your day. A sideways glance at the computer boots it up and displays a selection of morning programming you swipe through using hand gestures from across the room. Sound like science fiction?

It is for now, but the basic technologies enabling gadgets to take cues from our gestures, eye movements and even thoughts already exist. Systems that monitor the diverse functions of the human body are beginning to allow users to control electronics without traditional input devices like keyboards or screens. Sensors that respond to natural inputs and gesture-detection cameras are ushering in a new era of interaction based on translating body and mind signals, which point to a trend we’re calling Biometric Inputs.

Well before most new technologies and interfaces become mainstream, much of the experimentation that looks at what’s possible takes place at the intersection of technology, art and design, when artists and hackers let their imaginations run wild. Below we look at some of the pioneering work and creative interactions that are giving people an early taste about how their relationships with the devices in their lives might change.

Daito Manabe is a programmer, designer, DJ, VJ, and composer of musical projects that that change our perception of how our bodies interact with technology. While most electronic musicians use keyboards, mice, MIDI and other controllers with their hands to create and manipulate sound, Manabe uses his whole body. Sensors connected to his face detect the electrical impulses of his expressions and translate them into music, while the Nikes on his feet are rigged to trigger and bend sounds. Although the exposed wiring and functional aesthetic of Manabe’s performances aren’t for everyone, and certainly not for any mainstream product, he has laid the groundwork by demonstrating how limited previous interface technologies were, especially when one takes into account the full range of motion and expression the human body as a whole has.


Much of art is in the mind, as the creator and beholder try to meet each other upon the canvas, soundwave or whatever medium the artist chooses. There is also no small measure of ‘mind over matter,’ as the artist exerts his or her will upon the physical world. Artist Lisa Park takes such a Nietzschean approach in her work, with electroencephalography (EEG) sensors to turn her own brain activity during meditation into energy manifestations on dishes of water.

To learn more about artists using their bodies’ biologies to make art, continue reading here at iQ by Intel.

With the help of iQ by Intel, is exploring how technology impacts our lives. iQ by Intel connects readers to the trends and discussions that are moving our planet forward. To read more inspiring stories about how technology is unleashing the world’s human potential to create a better future visit iQ by Intel.

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