The Electronic Man is coming to FACT next week as part of the upcoming exhibition, Robots and Avatars. Far from my mental images of a man formed from cables, batteries and bullclips straight out of a school physics lab, The Electronic Man is actually a real time global performance that exists online by artists Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico. Log on to the website, and you are asked to add your current emotion to The Electronic Man. "You are The Electronic Man. You are connected to a global digital body, together with multitudes of other people. You can now actively participate to the body of The Electronic Man. Please select the word that best represents your emotional state in this place". . .
The project is a direct poetic interpretation of a theory by philosopher and scholar, Marshall McLuhan who said, "Electronic man like pre-literate man, ablates or outers the whole man. His information environment is his own central nervous system." Through installations, like the one at FACT, and through more guerrilla style approaches, The Electronic Man QR Code Stickers have been placed all over the world. When the code is scanned, the body of The Electronic Man gets stimulated and is also linked to the geographical location where the input had taken place. There is the option to download an app which will keep in sync with the body of The Electronic Man, and when a new emotion is uploaded to the network, the smart phone will vibrate, linking people directly to the original location of the input of emotion.
According to The Electronic Man's real time global map, there have been three interactions in the last four hours (at the time of writing!) from the FACT Centre. One of them was from me, but I am now looking around the office to work out who else is part of this global experiment. Want to be part of the experiment yourself? Visit the exhibition; download the QR code on this page or input into The Electronic Man online.