project image
an anonymous SAIC Student

first performed on April 28, 2012
CO12 Performance Base Space at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
performed twice in 2012


Chicago, IL


“Wall of Skin” is an immersive noise and light interactive piece involving the demolition of a wall to reveal the sound of light. It serves as a live musical composition using homemade analog electronic instruments that are light sensitive and react to the movement of a performing body. “Wall of Skin” is the embodiment of our core struggle between raw human identity and inorganic technology. This is a live visceral awakening that explores the role of skin in containing our internal chaos and noise. It hyper-emotionalizes and dramatizes sound by using a performing avatar body to reach deep into the audience’s subconscious selves. Because contemporary society believes in the perfection of technology, this work queers technology by reducing it to become susceptible to the flawed human touch. Technology is just as mortal, volatile and vulnerable as the human body. Physicality becomes the main connection between the organic and inorganic, especially in the playground of performance.

Throughout the performance, dramatic chapters occur: an avatar body makes cracks in the wall that bleed light. There are cables embedded into both the wall and the body. The avatar peels off layers of skin-suits as the wall gradually gets physically demolished. Mechanical sounds increase in pitch, sub-frequencies and volume as more and more light is revealed throughout the destruction of the wall. The piece finally ends with a chaotic crescendo and a deafening silence.

The peeling of the skin-suits represents the war between past identities and new identities, and discovers the ambiguity of the true self. The identity of the performer is never revealed, reinforcing the idea that while we may never see our true selves, we all look the same on the inside. The performing body is neutralized for audiences in order to project their identities onto its white figure so that they may feel as if they are participating. It is a similar experience to first-person video gaming, in that we are all anticipating success vicariously through an avatar, but have to endure unforeseen obstacles.

The more we strive to make our identities and our bodies as perfect as technology, the more we forget the importance of accepting our flaws, loss, chaos and pure, raw expression. When you are one with the unknown, the known becomes at peace.