Whatever approach you decide upon, Cardiomorphologies creates a very honest creative symbiosis between yourself and a cold, hard computer. There are many pieces at the Inbetween Time festival concerned with relationships—both real and imagined—between humans and technology, but Khut’s biological mimic is the only example where the machine can literally be said to have taken on human characteristics. However, the key facet of Cardiomorphologies’ ingenuity is the manner in which bodily data is transformed into highly abstract representations. True, it’s possible to imagine the piece presented with life-like or even photorealistic video images of heart and lungs up on that screen, but the effect would be to slam out a constant reminder to any participant of their own mortality, their entropic, finite qualities, the ones that make humans most resemble machines... and let’s face it, a huge undulating mass of meat projected in this fashion would probably make people lose their lunch on a regular basis. With the far subtler approach chosen by Khut, a partnership develops between device and devisor. Given enough time in that chair, it’s almost possible to forget the mechanical-biological feed into the image, and to consider your cyborg interactions a sort of dance, a duet, a partnership of necessity. It’s hypnotic—almost literally—and reflecting upon the experience afterwards there’s enough interdependence in Cardiomorphologies to make you ponder the implications of Khut’s hardware freezing, or his software crashing. If you were sufficiently immersed in the process and the screen suddenly went blank, what sort of shock might that provoke and would your metabolism follow suit?
George Khut is a Sydney-based artist working in the area of sound and immersive installation environments.
George Poonkin Khut, Cardiomorphologies, Arnolfini, Feb 1-12
Tim Atack is a musician, performer and writer living and working in Bristol. His band angel tech can be found at www.angeltech.co.uk
RealTime issue #72 April-May 2006
© Tim Atack; for permission to reproduce apply to firstname.lastname@example.org