Nobody loves bullshit more than the art world, and nobody tolerates bullshit less than the world of science, so when the two do meet it should be a knock down brawl to the death. That's just not always the case: Sometimes they get along quite well. Sometimes they even improve one another. Sometimes when they get together, they make sweet, sweet love. And sometimes their children are shithouse-rat crazy.
Listen: We give artists a lot of shit here (mostly because we miss all of the girlfriends we have lost to them) but honestly? You can't discount the importance of the artist; they are the single greatest resource we have for shining a light back on the problems of society. They are as important to the advancement of human culture as any technology and, though we joke about it now, a life spent making art is truly a life well spent. Our creative visionaries should be honored and valued above all else.
And then there are performance artists.
Performance artists are what you call mimes who can't shut up and lack the spatial awareness to form invisible boxes. If your average Joe can look down on the unemployed artist with scorn, then the unemployed artist can look down at the performance artist and spit on them...which they'd probably just claim is part of their "show."
Now, meet their king:
Jaime del Val has jery-rigged a system of portable powered projectors and attached them to his dick. He wanders the streets of Madrid looking like everything that is wrong with the male body, projecting gargantuan images of his cock onto the sides of government buildings and cathedrals.
He claims he is advancing the cause of a new sexual identity: Pangender Cyborgs. We're not entirely sure what that means, but we think it's artspeak for "bisexual nerds."
He explains that his "visual actions are part of a multi-protest against homophobia, surveillance, control and consumer society." Ah! See, it's not just technosexual assault: He's protesting. It's just that he's choosing to forego the cliched "chain myself to a fence/tree/building" method of protest in favor of the oft-overlooked "look at my giant video dick" statement. It really gets the point across. The gross, pale, shriveled and entirely inadequate point.
But hey, this is the tragedy of misunderstood genius; in no way is he just a pervert who used to be in the A/V Club and now wants to fuck a church.
Mio I-zawa is Japanese, so you're about to learn of some schoolgirl robots or train-rape, right?
I-Zawa is a "media artist," which is different than a "performance artist," so he's generally an all-right guy--he doesn't even cover your house with his balls or anything. The work that's earned him a spot on this list is his "mechanical tumor" which is surprisingly self-explanatory for art: It is a "quivering, fleshy, organic looking" tumor that ties into your PC and monitors the CPU stress your computer is undergoing.
Under higher strain, the tumor begins to inflate to gigantic levels--throbbing, and rolling about and generally just being disgusting. But even when your computer is idle, the tumor still "pulsates gently" - which is considerably more than most normal people are comfortable with cancerous growths doing on their desk 24/7.
I-Zawa's throbbing CPU tumor is just the latest in a series of hits, such as his Giant Elastic Cell Carpet: A mat of throbbing cells that mimic a vastly magnified patch of human skin. Or his External Heart, which is a graphic, gory representation of a human heart on wheels, which races around the room, throbbing in time with your heartbeat. It's meant to help you monitor your pulse-rate.
Anybody get the feeling that I-Zawa would like you to know that something is "throbbing?" It all makes sense, actually: Rather than sexually harassing passerby (the American way to express sexual frustration) or simply engaging in some awkward stuttering double-entendre (the English way) he's merely taking the Japanese way: Building robotic organs that assault you in every room of the house until you give up and just give him a handjob already.
Either that or I-zawa genuinely believes that every time you run Crysis you would love to be assaulted by cancer.
Japanese "nonsense" artist (there's some other kind now?) Nobumichi Tosa has an interesting concept for the future of musical performance: Interactive, motion-controlled electronic suits programmed to produce any range of sounds. It's basically just a synthesizer that you wear, which we're pretty sure was the entire endgame of the 80s, so what's surprising here? Well, just look at it:
Imagine Queen's "Flash Gordon" theme playing over this.
That's right: As you probably should've guessed when you first read the word "Japanese," there's a robot shoehorned into this deal. Well, sort of: It's more like a Battlemech actually--less Rock 'n Roll Terminator than Guitar-shredding Voltron (both screenplays are already written and waiting, Hollywood).
The suit is controlled by a number of factors: The speed and direction of the user's movement, the position of his body and the appearance of certain key gestures. There are no real pre-sets dictating which motion triggers which sound; it's entirely programmable. Jump up and down--maybe that triggers a snare drum. Run in circles--that's a piano riff. Uppercut a dude for a thumping bass line, or just flip someone the double-bird while air-thrusting your hips at their girlfriend to trigger a bitchin' guitar solo.
Whatever music you like is suddenly made physical, and it's easy to see the mass appeal of that. Unfortunately, however, this particular device is a prototype in use exclusively by Nobumichi's design troop, Maywa Denki. But the idea in general does seem to be building up steam...
...then firing it from its arm-mounted heat-cannons into the face of a giant lizard.