BB got your beat

BB got your beat reveals the magic of a world where our vital signs can be secretly measured. The work explores how the phenomena of publicly exposing internal bodily processes, affects the subject, their heart, and their social interactions. It plays on our techno-paranoia, depicting how pervasive surveillance and our growing compulsion for quantifying the self may play out in the not so distant future.

This bio-sensing interactive video work uses MATLAB software, which relies on facial recognition to measure heart beats, and Max software, to translate changes in the rhythm of the heart into sound and video. The invisibility of the interface, the clinical nature of the housing and the disco inspired video effects, all hint at the innocuous applications that bore this technology.

This non-contact, bio-sensing addition to existing techniques of surveillance expands the scope of observation by allowing the condition of the human body to be interrogated, as a potential contagion or criminal. B-B got your beat reminds us that the citizen body may now be surveilled on the inside. It is a token of foreboding.

Many thanks to Aengus Martin for his Max expertise, Niall McLoughlin for his MATLAB whizzardry and Louise Anson and Sarah McCloy for making the housing. Acknowledgments also go to the MIT team who developed the eulerian video magnification code upon which the heart rate measuring aspect of this artwork is based.