Futuristic suit makes two hearts beat as one

Futuristic suit makes two hearts beat as one

With its alien appearance and intimidating form, it’s hard to believe Tiffany Trenda’s latest creation is hoping to explore a very human interaction. Yet she claims the futuristic suit helps her to do just that. A new media performance artist, Trenda has developed her 3D printed costume, ‘Ubiquitous States’, to probe the complexities of human synergy.

Premiered at Context Art Miami last month, it features an integrated screen that displays the cardiac activity of Trenda and those she interacts with.

ECG sensors in the fingertips of the suit pick up the participant’s signals when Trenda touches their wrist or neck, while Trenda’s are continually monitored from inside the suit.

Clad in the black outfit, Trenda engages her subject, using headphones to hear one another’s heartbeat. This, she claims, allows their heart rhythms to synchronise, as shown by the monitor on Trenda’s front . The work, she says, tries to find connections between our hi-tech world and its effect on fundamental interactions.

“We’re downloading, texting, interacting everywhere, at any point and any time; can we measure these new emotional connections digitally?” she asks.

 Physiological synchronisations, such as the heart rhythm patterns Trenda describes, have attracted much discussion in the scientific community. While Dr Panagiotis Mitkidis, of Aarhus University, Denmark, believes such synchronisation is possible, Dr Ivana Konvalinka, researcher in cognitive systems at the Technical University of Denmark, is more sceptical. She explains that, while Trenda’s phenomenon would make interesting research, she has not seen proof of it. With her work incorporating modern technology, Trenda sees a very clear link between art and science. “Both disciplines require a process,” she says. “You come up with a hypothesis or an idea, which you test and test.”

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