Obsession is sad Passion was my first interactive performance with using a heart rate sensor (Polar WearLink) to illustrate my anxiety and confusion.

I have a lifelong phobia of butterflies; confined my head inside of a transparent plastic orb and released 24 butterflies inside. This maneuver provoked and stimulated my phobia, heightening my sense of fear and anxiety. With the heart rate sensor attached to my body, I was able to transmit my heart rate data and use its fluctuations to modulate the pitch, tone and speed of a pre-recorded audio narrative of Patrick Suskind’s “Depth Wish”. The story recounts the tale of a young female artist moved to depression by the remarks of a critic, which ended up leading her to suicide. The recording was bilingual, with both Korean and English version of the story.

With the butterflies fluttering around my head, my heart rate similarly rose and fell as my fear and anxiety fluctuated over the course of the performance. In this context, the heart rate sensor monitored my emotional state, which corresponded to the fear and frustration I was experiencing. I used the Polar WearLink, a heart rate sensor, to detect variations in my heart beats. This data was then transmitted via Bluetooth to an Arduino and Processing in order to modulatethe pitch, tone and speed of the audio recording.

Medium: Arduino, Polar Wear link, Processing, 24 Butterflies, 1 Plastic Orb
Year: 2011