GSR 1 2009

GSR 1 2009
Interactive video projection, galvanic skin reaction interface
Digital files, custom software, gsr-interface, wooden installation structure

GSRproj_1020041VGSR functions as a performative space in which the visitor’s body, through the galvanic-skin-reaction interface, participates in the representational logic of the moving image installation.

The installation inquires into a technology that has historically been used for lie detection. It is based on the idea that our bodily reactions to psychical pressure bypass cognition and communicate directly with the technical device taking measures. Even though the diagnostic value of galvanic skin response has often been contested, it serves as a historical antecedent/example for a series of technical translations that aim at representing affect. In the GSR installation, the system reads fluctuations in skin conductance of the hand placed onto the measuring plate. The reading is translated into a value that calls for a particular video file, which loops until the value changes. The video files for each systemic value constitute an escalating series of performed gestures, from a hardly noticeable finger movement to the agitations of the entire hand. The image is projected onto the stationary hand being measured.

The outcome appears as if the system was dancing a phantom hand over the physical one, while the origin of the movement resides in the bodily processes of the unmoving hand.

The installation displays a distributed agency in motion. In the resulting performance four temporalities coincide: the affective modulations of the body, the recorded performance in the moving image, and the temporal logic of the system, which cuts into the rhythm of the moving image, and finally, the gradually building hand shaped imprint on the copper plate serving as the interface.

The work premiered in the Ecology of Emotions exhibition, in Mänttä Art Festival.

GSR catalogue


  • Concept, production, video work, max/msp programming: Heidi Tikka
  • Technical consultants: Tuomo Tammenpää, Seppo Väkevä
  • Installation structure: Juhana Kallio