4th International Conference

Digital Culture & AudioVisual Challenges

Interdisciplinary Creativity in Arts and Technology

Hybrid - Corfu/Online, May 13-14, 2022

Between plastic surgery and cybernetics
Date and Time: 13/05/2022 (15:45-17:40)
Emna Zouaoui

In the course of history, at a given moment, cosmetic surgery has participated in this aspect known as the "ideal model". It has had a crucial role in the realisation of a body utopia that fits the society in question. It is now possible to sell the dream, to shout in the name of beauty and to become "an example to follow". The world of beauty contains many notions that mainly link the body and cosmetic surgery, meaning especially body modification.
The question of beauty has always challenged the world, so much so that people have sought to achieve 'true beauty', or in other words perfection, that they have ultimately created it through plastic surgery or other beauty devices. The story of 'Pygmalion' from Greek mythology can be applied as an example here. The myth says that a sculptor named 'Pygmalion' fell in love with his sculpture and named it Galatea, which later came to life through the goddess of love Aphrodite. This story sums up what is happening today in the quest for perfection. Creating our ideal at all costs.
What is essential in this case is to turn to the thinking of Norbert Wiener1 , which revolves around the figure of the cyborg and the golem. A thought that dictates that these two are structuring in the sense that they frame the thought of the human being. This idea is joined to cosmetic surgery in the 'artificial' structure of the human being, in the service of a social power that pushes the person to try to reach or create perfection. It is in this approach that cybernetics works.
There is a real interest in representing an analogy of cosmetic surgery and cybernetics in the artistic field. Thus creating a new critique in contemporary art. In this context, how can we create an experimental plastic approach linking plastic surgery and cybernetics?
Analogy is an essential procedure in cybernetics, and it can also be said that this science is entirely based on the characterisation of a machine function with a vocabulary usually intended to describe human behaviour. Through interdisciplinarity (science, sociology, art, technology/cybernetics), how can we develop a plastic critique? A critique that will put plastic surgery to the test of cybernetics. An experimental research will prepare an installation project for a series of plastic works introducing a sound device. We will attempt to create a colour sensor, which will convert the intensity of each colour into a specific sound that will then define it. In other words, the colour will be defined by the sound and not by its colour. This project has the aim of capturing colours and converting them into sound waves in real time. This colour-to-sound wave converter device will be realised in two main steps. The first step will be to use the Arduino colour sensor which are programmable electronic circuits. They allow us to interface between programming codes and electronics. The advantage of this device is that it is easy to program, and to handle anything electronic in many ways imaginable (it is not only a colour sensor but it allows us to create one, through programming). Using this colour-to-frequency sensor and making that frequency sound is the objective of this experiment. In this case, we can join this device (the Arduino colour sensor) to another device which will be a programmable frequency detector which will have the aim of converting this frequency into a sound wave.
The aim of this research is precisely digital experimentation with an interactive artistic purpose. The viewer will be both the observer and the subject of the digital artistic experience, in the discipline of synaesthesia. This work will therefore create an example of synaesthesia (sound/colour) within an artistic experience. The spectator will listen to the colours of his face, which will be done in real time through this device.
The obsolescence of the body is inevitable but living through a sound wave forever is possible. It is through this idea that the experience will be played out, as the spectator will be linked to a device that will convert his body into a digital sound format.

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