Electro-Shock Face Art


I saw this video by Daito Manabe at the Tokyo Art Fair today: thirty-six electrode-wired faces twitched in time to a modernistic percussion soundtrack. It was a symphony of facial tics, orchestrated in such a way that each face was “played” like an instrument, with whole sections grimacing and blinking in counterpoint. I kind of hate to admit it, but it was totally mesmerizing. I don’t think any faces were actually harmed in the making of this video, because at the end, they all sort of cracked up with the same kind of weird relief you have after stumbling off an especially hair-raising roller coaster ride.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, published by Penguin/Intermix. Being friends with artist Daito Manabe might be a bit hair-rasing – here is a video he made, testing the technique on his friends (electric stimulus to face – test4) before he made the piece I saw at Tokyo Art Fair. If you’re in Tokyo in March and want to go, info is on their website.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, now out for the first time in paperback!


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