Parasite is a machine that feeds off human energy. This mechanism has a series of attributes that allow it to generate kinetic energy from muscle movements. Parasite adopts the form of a transparent board resting on a surface with two stations placed parallel to each other. Each of these stations consists of a device capable of grasping the participant’s arm securely and firmly in order to carry out the process. Parasite connects a series of electrodes to the arm to stimulate the muscles with electrical pulses and create involuntary movements. Once it has harvested all the energy it needs to survive, the mechanism stops and charges itself autonomously. If the participant wants to be released from Parasite’s grip, s/he must persuade another user to take his/her place. The artist’s aim with Parasite is to create a system capable of obtaining energy via this process, establishing a relational loop between user and machine. Through this project, Pedro Lopes takes a closer look at the integration of man and machine and the possibility of designing sustainable hybrid devices with a degree of autonomy. In his projects Lopes focuses on designing and prototyping immersive interfaces and investigates the properties of muscle-propelled force feedback devices, inspired by the latest research in neuroscience and computer science.
About the author
Pedro Lopes is a computer scientist, artist & hardware developer. He holds a PhD at the Human Computer Interaction Lab of Patrick Baudisch in the Hasso Plattner Institute (Potsdam, Germany). In his experience there Lopes designed and prototyped devices that transform the body in an input and output interface through muscle sensing and stimulation. This research captured the interest of popular media such as NBC, Discovery Channel, NewScientist or Wired and lead him to publish at ACM CHI, UIST and SIGGRAPH. He is interested in the colliding of art and science and the artistic research inspired by neuroscience, performance art and computing. He has perform as a sound artist in Transmediale (Germany), Serralves Foundation (Portugal), Casa da Música (Portugal), Fylkingen & Future Places (Sweden) and collaborate with many sound & visual artists: Zíngaro, DJ Sniff, André Gonçalves, Ferrandini, Manuela São Simão and in ensembles with William Winnant (Zorn’s Cobra) and Reinhold Friedl.