Facial music, indeed. Daito Manabe has made the music the controller and his face the controlled in a new project. (As several commenters were quick to note, I got this exactly backwards when I posted this a few minutes ago: his face is the output, and the music the input.)

Daito Manabe is a Japanese-based composer, media artist, and DJ who does strange and wonderful things with inputs. This time, he’s hooked up electrical outputs to his face, so multimedia software Max/MSP, his usual tool of choice, can sequence muscle movements via electrical pulses transmitted directly to the surface of his face.

This is just one tech demo, but as an artist he does work in more fully-formed, full-length works — and happens to be coming to New York in November as part of a multimedia show at the Japan Society. Daito, if you’re out there reading I hope to catch up with you then, and perhaps buy you a Kirin, my honorary beer since it’s typically how my name is misspelled. (Peter Kirin is my typo Japanese alterego; the more popular Peter Kim my typo Korean doppelganger.)

Here’s another video; thanks to oscillateur and cptn for catching my jet lagged error.

  • http://www.oscillateur.com oscillateur

    Hmm, are you sure about this ?

    I thought it was the reverse process : sounds triggered in sync with electrical impulses that make parts of his face move…

    Still a great work imo but quite different :) .

  • Cptn

    I think osc is right. This vid from Daito lets you see the effect a little better. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxdlYFCp5Ic

  • http://www.basementhum.com Basement Hum

    I agree with oscillateur's interpretation too. You can hear him groan in pain(?) when it looks like his wrist is bent forward too strongly.

  • what would the capta

    in the first video the three sequences sound pretty much identical so id agree its either the machine triggering the face or a hoax

  • dom

    either wat thats messed

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, my original tip I received said "electrocution" video, but I don't think that's what they meant (that'd be fatal)! ;)

    Yes, as I looked closer y'all are absolutely right — he's using electrical stimulus to his face. Don't think it's a hoax. ;) Daito had some great stuff with him in Brooklyn last month, and look forward to sharing the other stuff he's working on.

  • poorsod

    it looks like he's controlling the amplitude of the sound with his arms in the second part of the first video. so maybe this works both ways.

  • Nomis

    Seems like it's hurt :P . Oh well, anything is alright for the sake of art ;) .

  • louis

    jesus.

    i wonder how much that would hurt, and how bad it would be for you.

  • rhowaldt

    in a way, this is similar to those vibrators you can connect to your iPod and which vibrate to the music. which should not hurt at all, on the contrary.. so maybe the next step for Mr Manabe might be to connect those.. connectors.. to certain body parts below the waist which i will not name because it is considered inappropriate to say those words according to my mother and my church, and the Bible says they do not even really exist except for in secret secluded and darkened environments reminiscent of what would await a person speaking these words when he/she were to enter into a state of pre-hellish limbo.

    wait.. have i drifted off-topic without noticing?

  • http://www.obstructiontheory.com hugo

    so yes, it is the sound which is triggering the electrical impulses which are going INTO his face. either that, or something is triggering them both. i also was originally under the misapprehension that he had turned his face into an essentially awesome control surface. <a> a couple of days ago , i speculated on this possibility being combined with the reality of the matter: electronic musicians triggering samples/effects/etc… via motions which in turn trigger movement and/or create electrical stimulus in the audience. a twitch of the upper lip would result in a horn stab and the entire audience jumping involuntarily into the air.

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  • jan

    Looks a lot like this face-interface project…

    http://iaaa.nl/artex/index.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_Pp6TP9aLI

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