Cyborg Music: Watch a DJ 'Play' Facial Expressions via Electrical Impulses

More

Daito Manabe, a Tokyo-based artist, manipulates faces through myoelectric sensors.

“Can you smile without emotion?”

That’s what Daito Manabe asks in the video above. It’s the sort of question many of his digital art projects begin with, leading him to experiment with myoelectric sensors to turn people’s faces into human drum machines. A similar endeavor recently saw him visualizing FaltyDL’s music using jerky, electrified movements of the human body.

SEE MORE FROM

Taking the role of programmer, designer, DJ, VJ, and composer on each of his projects, Manabe is able to realize scenarios that change our perception of how our bodies interact with technology. Whereas most electronic musicians control sound with their hands, Manabe uses the electrical impulses of his facial muscles. Most of us just walk in sneakers, but Manabe fitted various pairs of Nikes with sensors that trigger and manipulate sound. DJs have long dreamed of having a third arm to mix and scratch with, and Manabe has already traversed this possibility.

While a lot of digital art prides itself on seamlessness, hiding the wire and code guts of what makes each piece tick, Manabe’s work embraces the functional aesthetic of these tools, focusing his creative energy on conveying a thought-provoking performance. Sitting on stage and altering sound with various facial expressions has this effect without fail.

You can check out Manabe and Perfume choreographer MIKIKO’s projection-mapped video for Nosaj Thing’s “Eclipse/Blue” below. Below that, see some stills from Manabe’s various projects.

Controlling sound with facial muscles. Photo: Oram Dannreutner

A still from Nosaj Thing’s “Eclipse/Blue”

Manabe’s project for Nike

This post also appears on The Creators Project, an Atlantic partner site. 

Jump to comments

Kevin Holmes is Executive Editor of The Creators Project and lives and works in London, UK.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Ghost Trains of America

Can a band of locomotive experts save vintage railcars from ruin?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In