Sara Heitlinger

Nothing to worry about

Interactive performance, 2009

I want to break down this barrier between us so you can know what’s really happening inside me.

Nothing to Worry About is a one-on-one interactive performance that utilizes RFID technology to breakdown the barrier between performer and audience. Audience members use a special device to scan my body and listen to the private sounds and stories within, about an undisclosed medical problem. My body becomes like a musical instrument that the audience-participant can learn to play, thereby becoming maker of the work. The audience-participant becomes like a doctor, using new diagnostic instruments to seek out an intimate and sensual connection with the performer-patient.


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The project uses open source hardware and software, namely, a Parallex RFID reader and tags, an Arduino microcontroller, and Processing software. RFID is an interesting technology to explore because it is mostly used in security, tracking and object management systems. It is also surrounded by a cloud of fear and controversy, touted by some as the ultimate Big Brother threat to our privacy. But because each RFID tag has a unique code, it also has the potential to impart power, personality and individuality to seemingly indistinct inanimate objects. I'm interested in this capability of making things come alive and imbuing them with qualities and stories.

Performed at: the Binaural Sound Art Concert, University of Central Lancashire, Preston; Free Entrance Festival, Celje, Slovenia; DRHA2010, Brunel University, London; and Fresh AiR festival, Queen Mary University of London.