The Social Network for Innovators in Motion
Stelarc's Ping body performed at DEAF96 http://www.v2.nl/events/deaf/
Watch full performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45MOlsFGSHI&feature=related
Originally, ping is the word used to describe the sound generated by sonar equipment in submarines. Such sonars make sounds that sound like "ping"; the distance to another object is measured by the time it takes this sound to echo back. Within computer networks pinging is used to determine whether a connection is "up" and how good it is.
Stelarc employs pinging as a control mechanism for his body: his body movements are not caused by his own nervous system but by an external data system. The data is generated by pinging randomly at some thirty Internet domains and measuring the spatial distances and the time the signal needs to travel. The variation in ping values depends on both the distance and the level of traffic on the Net. The data thus collected is used to trigger a multiple muscle stimulator that activates muscles by tiny electrical currents. In this way activity on the Net is converted and used to set a body in motion.
The ping values representing distance and time on the Net constitute a choreography and compose the live performance. The values are also converted into a graphical interface on a screen and into sound depending on proximity, position and angle of arms and legs. So the performance that is controlled by activities on the Net, can again be seen there, live. Where normally people cause events on the Net, here the Net determines what happens to a person, becoming Stelarc"s external nervous system and turning him into a machine.
Through the centuries, man has compared his body to machines and in this comparison the technical developments were again reflected. In Stelarc"s performance the human body has become a "controllable machine", a manageable entity to perform movement.
Also watch this video which gives an insight in the technical aspects of the performance of Stelarc:
More info on Ping body @ v2:
Stelarc's archive on v2: