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Arthur Elsenaar

Leonardo Excellence Award Winner (2003)Arthur Elsenaar is an artist and electrical engineer who ran his own pirate radio station and built the transmitters for many illegal radio and television stations throughout the Netherlands. Elsenaar’s recent work employs the human face as a computer-controlled display device.Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha were named the recipients of the 2003 Leonardo Award for Excellence for their article "Electric Body Manipulation as Performance Art: A Historical Perspective," published in Leonardo Music Journal 12. This annual award recognizes excellence in an article published in a Leonardo journal. Excellence is defined as originality, rigor of thought, clarity of expression and effective presentation. Elsenaar and Scha’s winning article traces the historical developments of using electrically manipulated human bodies as theatrical display. Addressing the controversial aspects of this sometimes destructive art form, they investigate the implications of electrical executions. More often, they note the stimulating effects of electricity upon the body, studying Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation as implemented in the 19th century by Duchenne and continued in practice today by artists such as Stelarc and co-author Elsenaar. Citing technological advances that enable interactive nerve stimulation, Elsenaar and Scha point toward a future of computer-generated dance and theatre performances.Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha have jointly developed a series of automatic performance pieces and video installations that involve computer-controlled facial expression, algorithmic music, and synthetic speech. These works have been presented at scientific conferences, theatre festivals, and art exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. Elsenaar and Scha also explore the use of automatic radio stations as a medium for computer art.

Groningen, Netherlands