Birth, biofeedback performance, 2016

by Réka Harsányi and Dóra Ida Szűcs

Our biofeedback based audiovisual performance, called Birth, is about an unseenstory. This artwork converge with experiment, using technology to creatively reinterpret the imperceptible of the unseen life, inside a human body through biological processes. The ECG and Pulse sensors attached to the dancer’s body measure not only the heartbeat of her, but also the movements of her certain muscles like arm and chest. These data are controlling the pulse of the LEDstrip around her in real-time. As a result this light-uterus behaves as a living organism, in harmony with its inhabitants, until its creatures leave it. However, as she becomes more familiar with her environment and herself, she increasingly desires for new stimuli. While she provokes those stimuli, she recognises the sounds of her organs and the limitations of her body and surroundings from which she wanted to brake out, so that later she may be beginning the process again on the other side.

Light-uterus what surrounds, closes, embraces, – self-awareness, inquiry, awakening, detect the invisible, blindness, scanning, self-examination – the body that restrain, – preparation, struggling, desire to act, eruption, mind, escape, wonderment, restart.

During the rehearsal we have found the novel I Gave Up Before Birth by Samuel Beckett. It made a deep impact on us. Its complexity symbolises our thoughts about being inside, or being alive as a human.


“I gave up before birth, it is not possible otherwise, but birth there had to be, it was he, I was inside, that’s how I see it, it was he who wailed, he who saw the light, I didn’t wail, I didn’t see the light, it’s impossible I should have a voice, impossible I should have thoughts, and I speak and think, I do the impossible, it is not possible otherwise, it was he who had a life, I didn’t have a life, a life not worth having, because of me, he’ll do himself to death, because of me, I’ll tell the tale, the tale of his death, the end of his life and his death, his death alone would not be enough, not enough for me, if he rattles it’s he who will rattle, I won’t rattle, he who will die, perhaps they will bury him, if they find him, I’ll be inside, he’ll rot, I won’t rot, there will be nothing of him left but bones, I’ll be inside, nothing left but dust, I’ll be inside, it is not possible otherwise, that’s how I see it, the end of his life and his death, how he will go about it, go about coming to an end, it’s impossible I should know, I’ll know, step by step, impossible I should tell, I’ll tell, in the present, there will be no more talk of me, only of him, of the end of his life and his death, of his burial if they find him, that will be the end, I won’t go on about worms, about bones and dust, no one cares about them, unless I’m bored in his dust, that would surprise me, as stiff as I was in his flesh, here long silence, perhaps he’ll drown, he always wanted to drown, he didn’t want them to find him, he can’t want now any more, but he used to want to drown, he usen’t to want them to find him, deep water and a millstone, urge spent like all the others, but why one day to the left, to the left and not elsewhither, here long silence, there will be no more L he’ll never say I any more, he’ll never say anything any more, he won’t talk to anyone, no one will talk to him, he won’t talk to himself, he won’t think any more, he’ll go on, I’ll be inside, he’ll come to a place and drop, why there and not elsewhere, drop and sleep, badly because of me, he’ll get up and go on, badly because of me, he can’t stay still any more, because of me, he can’t go on any more, because of me, there’s nothing left in his head, I’ll feed it all it needs.”

Samuel Beckett

(Translated by the author)
from Fizzles, S. Beckett, Grove Press, Inc. N.Y. 1976, pp. 31-33


BIRTH – biofeedback performance 2016 from Reka Harsanyi on Vimeo.





  • SmART! Xtra / Augmented Body at Trafo House, Budapest
  • Riders on the Mall Festival, Müszi, Budapest
  • The Long Night of Museums at Kunsthalle – Institution of the Hungarian Academy of Arts, Budapest
  • Broken O Event at Artus Studio, Budapest

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