Torino:Margolis Performance

stim1A performative exploration of electricity, biomedicine, and spectacle
Date: June 29, 2010
Time: 8:00 P.M.
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
Please note: This lecture is paired with an event taking place on Tuesday, June 15; More here.

Tonight, join Observatory as it hosts Torino:Margolis in a three-part performance investigating the rich history of biomedicine, electricity, and spectacle. First, the audience will have the opportunity to control the movement of the performer using neuromuscular stimulation, which sends outside electricity into the performer’s muscle, forcing their muscle to contract and the performer to move involuntarily.

In the second part of the performance, they will use electromyography (EMG) in a sound-based performance. EMG is a way of sensing the electricity produced naturally during muscle contraction when an individual moves voluntarily. However, when the performer is physically manipulated by another person there is no action potential generated, no signal sensed by the EMG, and no change in the sound is produced. In this way you can hear someone’s free will.

In the third portion they will add a vocal component to the EMG “rig” by manipulating sound coming from the vocal cords using neuromuscular stimulation.

Torino:Margolis will then explain the workings of the biomedical tools used in the performance and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Torino:Margolis is a performance art team that smashes through physical and psychological barriers separating one body from another using invasive electronics and biomedical tools. They explore the idea
that the self is transient, elusive and modular by playing with the notion of control and free will. Their extraction of physiological processes concretizes these concepts and presents them as questions to the
viewer — not to illustrate the mechanism, but to explore the experience. The team has performed nationally and internationally at New York venues such as Issue Project Room, POSTMASTERS Gallery and Exit Art, the HIVE Gallery in California, and the Bergen Kunsthall Museum in Norway. They have lectured for institutions such as SUNY Stony Brook and the School of Visual Arts. For more information please see

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