***Please note this video contains nudity and skin breaching/bloodshed***
Bloody Machine is an endurance performance piece, which seeks to appropriate retro imaginings of the future of computers with people, and juxtapose it with the reality of contemporary technology. Early discourse around Cyborgs and cybernetics, such as those featured in Neuromancer and Snow Crash, had a tendency to focus on the literal aesthetic of computers ‘plugged’ into people. Or featured the idea of a personality ‘downloaded’ into the machine, leaving the organic body useless as discussed by N. Katherine Hayles et al.
However the reality has been much less extreme but just as dependent. The body is still left ‘untapped’ in relation to the machine, yet copies of the data that relate to us as individuals are stored on a number of our personal machines (laptops, phones etc) as well as those kept by government and corporate agencies. Provided the physical mechanics of these computers are not damaged they should be permanent testaments to who we are/were, long after our deaths.
Inspired by Fiona McGregor’s bloodletting performances documented in Strange Museums I propose to set up a lead from a vein in my arm and ‘plug it into’ an iPhone. As I bleed the device will sustain damage to its hardware and I will weaken from blood-loss, thus creating a race to see who will pass-out/shut-down first. This image aims to be reminiscent of the Cyborgian images mentioned earlier as well as adding to the discourse of contemporary body modification performance. I have chosen to focus on Apple products because they are the dominant technological brand on the market with designs that are widely recognised as future-forward.