Reincarnation Lounge Chairs

The Reincarnation Lounge Chairs (RLC) Project explores the idea of human nervous system transference and interchange. Participants sit facing each other and they experience the feeling of their own heartbeat being swapped with that of the other person facing.

The RLC Project operates via the principle of electronic signal amplification. The participants place their hands upon the domed silver surfaces and the detected electrical signals are amplified approximately 30,000 times. The detected signals are the participants’ ECG, LEAD I. This lead is standardly measured during a medical Electrocardiograph (ECG) recording. The amplified ECGs are directed to haptic (touch sensation) transducers and illuminating light sources placed within both chairs. The environment generated within the confines of the papasan chairs is fully determined by the one or the other participant’s measured ECG.

The nexus of the RLC Project is the transfer junction. An operator can set the state of the chairs – so the participants can experience the visceral sensation of their own heartbeats or, with a change in the transfer junction, the participants feel the heartbeat of the other.   The RLC Project measures and amplifies human ECGs so that ones heartbeat can be felt, seen and heard by oneself or others.

The basic principle of the ECG is that periodic waves of propagated electrical stimulation cause cardiac muscle to alternately contract and relax. These electrical stimulation waves are transmitted from cardiac muscle cell to cell via gap junctions that connect between the cells. The electrical waves spread through the cardiac muscle cells because of cascaded changes in ions between intracellular and extracellular fluid. When the cardiac muscle cells are in a resting (polarized) state, the insides are negatively charged compared to the outsides. Cell membrane pumps maintain this electrically polarized state. Contraction of cardiac muscle is triggered by depolarization. Following depolarization, the cardiac muscle cells return to their resting charge. This process is called repolarization. These waves of depolarization and repolarization result in a changing electrical potential (the ECG) and can be detected by placing electrodes on the surface of the body.

The RLC project explores the idea of transferring aspects of the heartbeat’s depolarization and repolarization processes from one person to another. Heart component nervous system activity is relocated from one individual and then, simultaneously, re-expressed on a different individual.