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On the Edge of Consciousness: Exploring the Delicate Equilibrium of Body and Technology in Interactive Systems and Contact Improvisation

This performance is positioned as the one of result of research on the digital interactive system developed by myeself. This digital interactive system adopts the iPhone as a motion sensor and is designed to synchronize with the sound and visuals of the room based on the tilt of the iPhone. In 2022, I developed the digital interactive system and researched the insights obtained from the experiences and sensations that this system brings to the body for about a year.

The process of this performance is based on the sensations experienced when experiencing the self-created digital interactive system in the studio space. It combines solo performances in the studio and the sensations of contact improvisation with movements that control the balance of body and body, and examines and analyzes them.When using a digital interactive system in a space, it feels like your own body is extended. The changes in the indoor environment created by subtle tilts of the iPhone allow for a sense of unity and immersion with the space. This experience is similar to contact improvisation. This led to the idea of combining digital interactive systems with contact improvisation. Furthermore, when using both the digital interactive system and contact improvisation, it feels like a lot of information is generated from both external and internal sources within the body, and complex information exchange is taking place within my own body.

During the research process, I closed my eyes and experienced a sense of immersion similar to what can be obtained in an interactive system when moving very slowly. What I observed was that even with closed eyes and very slow movements, a lot of information related to muscle and skeletal balance was being processed within the body. I also noticed that there was a crossing of conscious and unconscious sensations beyond decision-making during improvisation. From this, I reseached the insights into the commonalities between closing one's eyes and moving very slowly, and interactive systems. What elements bring about such a shared experience?

Contact improvisation + using digital interactive system1  (26th Feb 2023)
Collaboration with: Alan Newnham

Contact improvisation + using digital interactive system2 (6th Mar 2023)
Collaboration with: Phoenix Tanner

For example, there are times when I stop thinking when I receive an unfavorable response from the other person during communication, or when I unexpectedly stumble on a step. In contact improvisation, when you receive an unexpected reaction from the other person, or in an interactive system, when you receive information beyond your control, you objectively realize that you are crossing the boundaries between consciousness and unconsciousness within your body and thoughts.

Merleau-Ponty argues that the body is a means for us to understand the world and influences our perception and behaviour. In other words, the body serves as a bridge between our conscious and unconscious, affecting our behaviour and frequency of information exchange (Kozel, 2008, p.281). 

Wearing the interactive system on a body position other than the right hand and moving.
20th April 2023)

Close my eyes and move very slowly with using degital interactive system. (1st Mar 2023)

Close your eyes and move very slowly. (5th Jan 2023)

The sensation of one's own body being extended in interactive systems and contact improvisation environments can also occur when deeply observing one's own body. Ultimately, it is believed that the exchange of consciousness and unconsciousness is triggered in the process of comparing and confirming the sensation of trying to move, for example, the right hand, with how much it is actually moving.

Through the analysis of digital interactive systems and contact improvisation, I have come to realize that there is an exchange of information and a dialogue between consciousness and the unconsciousness, not only in internal dialogue but also in physical communication with space and other people.

Observation of my right hand with delicate movements. (26th Dec 2022)

Brain wave recordings

Checking brainwaves while using digital interactive system. (19th Jun 2023)

Checking brainwaves while solo movement. (19th Jun 2023)

Checking brainwaves while moving with an interactive system using a motion sensor called SOMI-1. (28th May 2023)

Checking brainwaves in contact improvisation + digital interactive system. (28th May 2023)
Collaboration with: Sven Blazyca

Checking brainwaves in contact improvisation + digital interactive system. (16th Jun 2023)
Collaboration with: Marc TiBiO

Checking brainwaves in contact improvisation + digital interactive system. (20th Jun 2023)
Collaboration with: Attila Andrási

In addition, when comparing solo, interactive systems, contact improvisation, and the combined environment, I felt that my own mindset consistently positioned itself within a delicate balance between specific consciousness and unconsciousness. I have named this mindset the "delicate balance spot" and am currently conducting research on its relevance as a process, including observing it through brainwave measurements using Muse™. The title of this performance, "delicate balance," is derived from here.

I believe that there is a connection between the delicate balance of consciousness and the unconscious and my own sensibility and perception. In this research, I applied thresholds related to my own sensibility and perception to the design of the digital interactive system, such as its visual effects, sound volume, and other elements. The results were then reflected in the balance between the space and my own relationship with it. This delicate balance is also shared in human communication for me. It leads me to inquiry how much control I have over my own body, how consciousness and the unconscious influence different aspects of interpersonal communication, what constitutes good communication and harmony, and what it means to be in a state of separation.

The impact of space and environment on human behaviour can form a system or change behaviour itself. From a structuralist perspective, analysing the structure that constitutes social phenomena, space and environment are elements that make up social phenomena, and people's behaviour may be constrained by these elements (Turner, 2009, p.36). 


The process of examining and analyzing the combination of digital interactive systems and contact improvisation led to questioning one's own sensibility and perception, stemming from the nature of sending and receiving information. My own sensibility and perception may be influenced by the fact that I am Japanese, as well as the spirituality that emerges from the "subtle balance" between consciousness and unconsciousness. This research has revealed various perspectives on the interactions that connect the body and mind.

Feedback comment by Weronika Orzełek while using the interactive system (8th Jul 2023)

Session applying brain waves and audio-reactive (23rd Nov 2022)
Collaboration with:
Weronika Orzełek
Song: Bernstein - Eluvial

In this research, the focus was on the exchange of information through the interaction of digital interactive systems. However, over the past year, I have also been considering the relationship between interactive systems and the relationship between technology and humans.
Interactive systems have adapted very well, like a part of the body's system, similar to a "catalyst". For example, based on Heidegger's theory that human existence (Dasein) is essentially a tool user (Tool-Being), this digital interactive system functions as a means to realize human intentions and purposes, and plays a role in supporting human actions to express themselves and achieve their goals.
Based on these ideas, I have also conducted discussions in the sessions using fixed objects such as ballet barre.

Testing in the prototype of an interactive system. (21st Sep 2022)

First demonstration performance in interactive systems (at Investigative practice module)
26th May 2022)

I conducted research from a multidimensional perspective on the somatic and phenomenological approach, involving sessions with numerous individuals to have them experience and share information. Through this research, I explored the concept of the interactive system as a complex entity, considering various aspects. The findings shed light on the possibilities offered by technology, the interaction between the body's system and the technology system, the distinction between subjective and objective experiences, and the question of how the easily fragmented body should continue to engage with space.

Studio session measuring brain waves when using ballet barre. (2nd May 2023)

Improvisation + audioreactive set up (with Piano)  (4th Jan 2022)
Collaboration with: Phoenix Tanner

Session on an interactive system using a motion sensor called SOMI-1 and a different design.
Collaboration with: Attila Andrási (5th
 Jul 2023)

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