Stephen Gray, static electricity demonstration, London, 8 April 1730. The electrified human body: An electrically charged boy attracts small particles of brass leaf through electrical induction.
Electric Body Manipulation as Performance Art: A Historical Perspective
creation date: 2003
Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha
The authors trace the history of electric performance art. They begin with the roots of this art form in 18th-century experiments with "animal electricity" and "artificial electricity," which were often performed as public demonstrations in royal courts and anatomical theaters. Next, the authors sketch the development of increasingly powerful techniques for the generation of electric current and their applications in
destructive body manipulation, culminating in the electric chair.
Finally, they discuss the development of electric muscle-control technology, from its 18th-century beginnings through Duchenne de Boulogne's photo sessions to the current work of Stelarc and Arthur Elsenaar.
Article was published in Leonardo Music Journal in 12/2003 and subsequently won their 2003 Leonardo Award for Excellence.
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