Hand to Heart is a 4 player videogame exploring the affective interactivity between bodies and technology. It consists of four differently crafted controllers in the shape of my hand: a charcoal drawing, a sewed plush hand, a tinfoil sculpture, and my own physical hand. The players measure their pulse and input the rhythm of it by touching my hand or one of my representative hands. The four hearts beating are displayed in pixel art on top of images taken from Gray’s Anatomy, the classic anatomical medicalization of human bodies. This piece explores the current structured boundaries between interactive video and videogames, digital media and physical art, and performance and individual experience.
Engaging with affect theorists Laura Marks, Eugenie Shinkle, and Brian Massumi, Hand to Heart is created in order to survey the connection between the senses, the body, and both technological and social interactivity. It looks at the senses as not just a way of perceiving outward to the world, but perceiving inward, tuning in and noticing inner workings of the body and mind. It is to notice how the body reacts to visual stimuli in conjunction with alternate controller touches. Though videogames engage body reactions for gameplay, they condition the player to train themselves to react in a purely cognitive manner. Heart beating from fear and twitchy fingers are punished in favour of calm, collected responses. This art piece tracks heartbeats but does not assign a normative measure to them. The player have to concentrate to feel if their heartbeat is fast, slow, normal rather than a constructed measurement telling them how their body is doing. Heartbeats and the pace the body pumps are very private. Hearts racing in the chest as a sign of anxiety is normally invisible, but this game projects it for the audience to see, disturbing the normative directives determining which senses are private and which are public.