Muscle Memory

october 2012

The first element of this performance is an instructional video of the artist doing warm-up and stretching exercises remembered from middle-school and high-school Physical Education classes.

The second element is a Processing-based application that uses the laptop’s built-in webcam to play back a 10-second delay of whatever the camera captures. This application runs full screen on the laptop after first playing the recording of the artist doing the exercises for a few minutes.

Muscle Memory begins with the artist standing in front of the laptop and repeating the movements from the instructional video. While this is happening, the application begins recording the artist’s live actions. At one point during the performance, the first video disappears to show, full-screen on the laptop, the 10-second delay of the artist doing the exercises in the performance space. At this point, the artist begins following actions from 10 seconds ago, up until the moment of the switch. This results in the repetition of the same movements that take place in this 10-second window, over and over again. As the performance develops, any mistake or hesitation that are made, come up in the screen ten seconds later, and are repeated as though they were instructions. The result is the accumulation of mistakes over time. Eventually the movements disintegrate to a slow stop.