Web server interfaced with frog body parts

Exhibitions: A live installation/event was exhibited at the San Jose State University Black Gallery in 10/2006


Fleshserver involves a series of experiments in which a miniature computer with an embedded web server is interfaced with several frog body parts. The server triggers physical activity in the frog’s body based on input from networked users via a web interface. The action can be seen both in the gallery and online, via a live streaming web camera.

Conceptual Foundations

Fleshserver represents the first in a series of investigations into the relationship between the body and media such as television, film and the Internet. One of my primary interests and concerns revolves around the current state of the body in relationship to digital technologies. The body currently occupies a turbulent boundary zone between the biological and the informatic. How is it affected as it is increasingly networked and interfaced with information technologies, entering into relationships with computer software, databases and robotic systems? Will the traditional distinctions and boundaries of the body still be useful in the future?

Fleshserver is positioned within this context of technology in relationship to contemporary human culture. It is a “posthuman” system that plays with the idea of “programmable flesh”. With this and other work, I am interrogating the notion of the body as a system with clearly defined boundaries, as well as the construction of information as a disembodied entity, able to flow freely and unaltered from one material substrate to another. This construction is a potent force, both in the development of the cyborg and in the elimination of embodiment from digital technologies.

Fleshserver also attempts to put forth the possibility that these technologies operate on multiple layers of sensation, beyond the reach of traditional rhetorical and semiotic models. It posits the idea that we relate to them not only on a logical and abstract level, but also on a visceral level, thus questioning the view that physical embodiment is incidental to the development of knowledge and intelligence.