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Electric Heart

heartbeat, iphone app, pulse oximeter, wool, silk, leds, lilypad, wifly, two lovers separated by time and space

Electric Heart is a bioresponsive and interactive garment that turns the received heartbeat of a
distant beloved into pulses of light and color. The heartbeat of the garment's wearer is intended
to synchronise with the heartbeat of the absent beloved.

The distant person uses an i-phone app and oximeter sensor technology to record and send their
heartbeat to the Electric Heart garment, and Electric Heart transforms the received heartbeat into
received pulses of light and color that reference simulations of closeness and intimacy.
The work simultaneously critiques notions of intimacy, absence and presence as mediated
through technology, and asks whether pulses of beautiful light and color could ever replace the
warmth of an embodied embrace.

Electric Heart is the third and final work in a trilogy of bio-responsive wearables that
include Electric Skin and Electric Dreams. Electric Heart additionally draws on interdisciplinary
research conducted by the product and process applied research team at the British Columbia
Institute of Technology, and the award winning work of Mark Ansermino and Guy Dumont, at
UBC's Medical Engineering Faculty.

Electric Heart takes the notion of technologically mediated absence/presence to an absurd
extreme, in order to critique our increasing sense of isolation and disembodiment.
The work envisions an environment in which our basic human desire for connection is disrupted
through an elaborate and seductive technological infrastructure. The embrace becomes a
performance of itself, the visceral heartbeat is transformed.