Sensilla was an interactive performance art piece at the EATEN: A Capsule Museum for Future Possible Past Beings exhibition as part of Art After Dark in Gillman Barracks, Singapore. The sixty-minute experience explores ideas of the spectacle and its consumption in an alternate and yet familiar way and setting. As participants enter the world of Sensilla, they take on different roles as they oscillate between connection and alienation from each other.
The Artists Company as “TechnoTribalist”.
In an otherwise familiar space that is an art gallery, participants enter a dim space, where the art becomes less visible and their actions become amplified. Their interactions are awkward and controlled by a voice that they hear on their mobile phones. The participants press the phones against their faces reflecting the artificial boundaries that dissolve and reappear with the help of invisible radio technology. The participatory performance experience is inspired by its root word ‘Sensillum’ which are ‘sense organs’ used to respond to stimuli from outside an insect or arthropod’s seemingly tough exoskeleton. The highlight of Sensilium leaves one in a liminal state of sensing, feeling, and responding to the psychological and cognitive influence of sound, lights and the drone of a human voice.
The visitors to an art exhibition appear naive and seemingly pure in anticipating an audio-guide or interactive light display conducted by artists. In entering the cold dark space, was a tribe of people dressed in black, white, and donning neon necklaces. A tribe of people nurtured by technology and re-interpreting a gallery experience. This new entity followed their own digital clock face, morphing the gallery experience into one that required pressing oneself against the walls of the gallery and drinking Chinese tea while talking to a total stranger about their deathwise. Insofar as it is a critique of technology it is also a slowing down of the pace and rapidity that one consumes art. The artists have devised QR Codes, audio tracks, and a disembodied presence in the gallery space to slow the pace of experiencing an art show where visitors are taken out of being dazed by the vastness of information but becoming more aware of their bodies and people around them.