Dancing Frogs Twitch but not Shout
March 8, 2012 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Necromantic frogs twitch to the beat (from Create Digital Motion), the artist Lu Yang has wired up discarded dissected frogs to MIDI and made then "dance" to the beat of a drum machine.
posted by njohnson23 (57 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Anyone in here a funeral director or probate lawyer or something? I need to know which forms to fill out to make sure this is what they do with my body when I die.
posted by griphus at 11:50 AM on March 8, 2012 [16 favorites]


Lunch meet keyboard.
posted by Splunge at 11:53 AM on March 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Cutting-edge C18th science. Luigi Galvani lives!

Well, he will as soon as a fershlugginer lightning bolt hits this goddam castle tower.
posted by yoink at 11:54 AM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is sick and brilliant and wonderful and grotesque.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:55 AM on March 8, 2012 [3 favorites]




punch line: froggy with a no legs, goes deaf.
posted by Dean358 at 11:56 AM on March 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is it just me or does it look less like they're reanimated than like they're being physically shaken about? The range of motion from the electric jolts seems less like the frogs' leg muscles moving than those salted frog legs videos did, and could probably be accomplished just as easily by attaching them to fishing line or something. I expect a higher standard from scientists when playing with dead things.

Way to live up to expectations, Japan.

Lu Yang doesn't sound like a Japanese name to me
posted by Hoopo at 12:01 PM on March 8, 2012




Somehow, what disturbed me most was how human all those pallid little naked frog asses looked.
posted by bicyclefish at 12:01 PM on March 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Lu Yang doesn't sound like a Japanese name to me

The text at the linked page includes hiragana and katakana, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum is in Japan.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:03 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the avoidance of cruelty to animals, dead frog bodies originally used in a medical dissection experiment were re-used for this work.

People always try to use this excuse. The simple fact that is the popularity of dead frog body music videos is going to cause unnecessary medical frog dissections to happen just to feed the supply.

Own up to your moral responsibilities people!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:05 PM on March 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


I need to know which forms to fill out to make sure this is what they do with my body when I die.

It would be like trolling one's own funeral. I'm picturing a most unsettling scene, the 'guest of honor' dancing to a 12" dance club version of 'dem bones'.

Epic troll, but wow, you really have to want to stick it to the people who went to the effort of showing up at your funeral. Or, conversely, if that's the dark humor the attendees are into, what other songs are next?
posted by chambers at 12:06 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Weekend at Kermit's
posted by jquinby at 12:07 PM on March 8, 2012 [18 favorites]


I understand that the frogs were used for medical experimentation first and that this is in Japan, but US NIH guidelines on the humane use of animal subjects instruct "to dispose of carcasses in a manner which demonstrates respect for the animal and respect for fellow workers." My board would have shut this down with prejudice. I say shame on the medical facility that allowed this.
posted by cgk at 12:08 PM on March 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


This work takes a form of MTV showing dead frog’s dance controlled by Midi controller and Midi signal.

Wait, MTV is actually presenting music on television? As in sounds arranged in some predetermined order?

What they're not telling you is that this is a prototype for what MTV'll be doing with previous casts of Real World.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:08 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of all the myriad networks, MtV is the one I genuinely expect will start airing Hypnotoad.
posted by griphus at 12:11 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe the word you are looking for is "macabre".
posted by some loser at 12:15 PM on March 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


If I recall correctly, Fritz Leiber's 1950 short story Coming Attraction features a nightclub where patrons are entertained by elctrified human corpses made to dance to music called "ro-bop".
posted by newmoistness at 12:15 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is kind of silly.
posted by swift at 12:18 PM on March 8, 2012


that's got to smell good.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:20 PM on March 8, 2012


Frog-a wit a-no leg... DEAF!
posted by Zed at 12:25 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh I hope he's taking requests because I want to hook them up to this song...
(sorry for the Myspace link, it's the only semi-legit link I could find)
posted by the painkiller at 12:30 PM on March 8, 2012


The text at the linked page includes hiragana and katakana, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum is in Japan.

That's great, but what I'm saying is that maybe the work of a Chinese artist is not the best example of LOLJapan.
posted by Hoopo at 12:33 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember my high school physics teacher telling us a (possibly apocryphal) story of Volta using bioelectricity to create a giant musical instrument on his wrap-around porch consisting of bells and wired-up animal legs. In truth, this makes more sense with Galvani, but that's not the way we were told, and I can't find anything about it online.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:37 PM on March 8, 2012


It's gotten to the point that every time I see the word "artist" in an FPP, I expect something like this as opposed to, say, a painting on canvas.
posted by rocket88 at 12:38 PM on March 8, 2012


Sorry, going to side with cgk here and say this is wrong. And stupid. Not art, just some asshole trying to get attention.

..."to dispose of carcasses in a manner which demonstrates respect for the animal and respect for fellow workers."

Yes, respect for the animal. Respect for all living things.

It's one thing to use frogs for research or education; it's quite another to use something dead for entertainment.

That's sick.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:40 PM on March 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


I hope he's taking requests

She.

That's great, but what I'm saying is that maybe the work of a Chinese artist is not the best example of LOLJapan.

LOLJapan's never really great, honestly. (You hear that, Phil Fish?)
posted by kmz at 12:42 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


maybe LOLJapan is arguably racist
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:47 PM on March 8, 2012


Weekend at Kermie's.
posted by emelenjr at 12:52 PM on March 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hold on the hating here folks. Some of us might just be of the opinion that this is genuinely of merit, allowing us to recognize that a model of the person as an electrically animated bunch of dead meat is nonsense. There is insight to be had from seeing the purposelessness of the movements. We have indeed learnt a lot since Galvani, and the challenge of animating meat so that it appears purposeful is the big one. Boston Dynamic's Big Dog is a good example of the very best efforts to put in purposefulness and an impression of autonomy into movement. As for the music and the lulz, it doesn't actually hurt to wrap up profundity in a little slapstick. Witness the first comment (which I would also subscribe to). Your notion of respect seems a little unfounded here. Do you speak for a frog? For a frog's purpose? For a frog's meat? Hold on the hating.
posted by stonepharisee at 12:54 PM on March 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Repellent with a strong overtone of depravity.
posted by jamjam at 1:20 PM on March 8, 2012


Energizing dead frog muscles to prove that you can: good science
Energizing dead frog muscles with a MIDI controller set to music: unethical art.

I mean, I totally get it, but on the other hand it's a strange line we humans draw.
posted by muddgirl at 1:20 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, respect for the animal. Respect for all living things.

I'm going to disagree here. I'm not seeing much of a breach of ethics here considering the frogs were already killed for another purpose. The type of stunts high school biology students do with dead frogs is worse than this. They haven't been living things for quite some time, and consider that frog legs are food and the rest of the frog is frequently disposed of without any trace of respect for the animal. This really crosses no lines for me, other than the "eww gross" line.
posted by Hoopo at 1:22 PM on March 8, 2012


It's one thing to use frogs for research or education; it's quite another to use something dead for entertainment.

What about for eating, is that okay?
posted by empath at 1:22 PM on March 8, 2012


I thought it was fun. If you really want to get all outraged about dead frogs, look at what industrial waste does to them on a larger scale... that's a much bigger problem caused by people who actually don't give a damn about the lives of the animals they're killing.

Frog legs in a good French restaurant are absolutely delicious. Yes, I also used to keep frogs as pets. What! I was not raised in a city.
posted by heyho at 1:28 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hoopo: "Lu Yang doesn't sound like a Japanese name to me"

Isn't that Chih-Hao's girl?

Strangely Stunted Trees oughta know.
posted by Red Loop at 1:32 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Hold on the hating."

Hold on for what? Until they start doing this with dead pet dogs, because they were already dead for some other reason? On humans? This is just wrong, and feeling that it is wrong isn't "hating", it's having respect for other living things. If that is "hating", then meet a hater.
posted by Stoatfarm at 2:28 PM on March 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


(materializes in a cloud of burning jet smoke)

Chih-Hao's girl was named Yu Lan.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 2:33 PM on March 8, 2012


First they came for the frogs, and I didn't speak out, because I wasn't a frog.

etc.
posted by HuronBob at 2:36 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


feeling that it is wrong isn't "hating", it's having respect for other living things

But...they're dead things, not living things. You are of course entitled to feel this is wrong, but statements like "this is just wrong" are pretty subjective, especially in light of what people seem to think is respectful treatment of dead things (let alone living things)--taxidermists stuffing dead pets, "body worlds" skinning dead humans, rubberizing their muscle tissue and posing them in funny poses for people to gawk at. Personally I don't think there's much to worry about here, ethics-wise, in terms of what this artist is doing with previously-dissected frog carcasses.
posted by Hoopo at 2:50 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"...And that's what your holy men discuss, is it?" asked Granny Weatherwax.
"Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment on the nature of sin, for example," answered Mightily Oats.
"And what do they think? Against it, are they?"
"It's not as simple as that. It's not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray."
"Nope."
"Pardon?"
"There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."
"It's a lot more complicated than that--"
"No. It ain't. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried that they won't like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."
"Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes--"
"But they starts with thinking about people as things..."*


This is why I could never be a scientist. Or a performance artist.

I support and approve of science and scientific curiosity. I support artistic expression, though I don't always care for the end result (read: most performance art). I accept that "research" often means going somewhere we don't expect to go, maybe don't want to go, to learn new things. And I believe that we should want to always learn new things, until they day we die.

But I could never take pleasure in the suffering of an animal like this. I know, I know, the frogs were dead already. And I know scientists (and aspiring scientists like my son) routinely perform scientific experiments on living creatures, and I know that once those trials are done, the creatures are summarily executed as a matter of routine.

But we don't, or at least we shouldn't, disrespect the creatures that give their lives like this, whether the giving itself results in our eventual benefit or not. We certainly shouldn't take pleasure in their deaths.

I remember, when I visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C. with my family, thinking that I would not be overly affected by the emotional impact of the exhibits. I had read so many accounts and knew so much about the horrendous atrocities that had occurred that I felt I was prepared for what I might see there. If anything, I worried that I might offend someone there by my lack of response, as I knew many--more personally affected than I would ever be--would be grieving the loss of loved ones and relatives they never even had a chance to know. And certainly those victims deserved to be remembered, mourned, and grieved over.

So I went in with a purposely respectful mien, quietly reading the placards and viewing the disturbing images without comment, so that I would not, even inadvertently, give offense by voicing my impressions, seeming thoughtless or uncaring. And though a part of me felt sickened by much of what I saw, I kept that part compartmentalized and continued on.

Until I came to a square where a group of people crowded around a low wall. An exhibit of some kind, protected by that barrier, was partially hidden from view so that adults were still able to see what the wall contained simply by looking down over it, while children would not carelessly stumble upon it. I wondered what could be so much worse about this particular piece that children would need to be protected from even the sight of it.

Naturally, I peeked over the wall and looked down, and noted that it was a movie that was playing this time, rather than a still image--and that's when I totally lost my composure and burst into tears, horrified beyond description.

Below me, on the screen, men were handling the bodies of the dead. It was obvious that they had done this work before, and that they had long since become inured to the job, because they tossed corpses onto truck beds as if they were nothing more than kindling. Pitifully emaciated, shorn and naked, the bodies of men, women and children were stacked on top of each other with horrible efficiency, as the men who stacked them carried on conversation, impervious. At times, they even laughed.

It was just so...cold and dispassionate. Treating people like things, that's where it starts.

*From Terry Pratchett's novel, Carpe Diem.
posted by misha at 2:59 PM on March 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


We certainly shouldn't take pleasure in their deaths.

I take pleasure in the death of an animal every time I eat meat, no? I know that some people are vegetarians for this very reason, but the vast majority of people see no hypocricy in treating animals like things by humanely killing and eating them, yet being digusted by treating animals like things (by humanely killing them and then delivering electrical shocks to their muscles).
posted by muddgirl at 3:16 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, this brings me closer to my ambition of creating an army of zombie ravers. Now to find a supplier of brain-flavored candy necklaces...

Seriously though, that bloody high-pitched sustained note in the song, combined with the cheesy mask, seriously makes me think this was one scientific trolling just to get people up in arms...
posted by Samizdata at 3:37 PM on March 8, 2012


The type of stunts high school biology students do with dead frogs is worse than this.

Glad to see this is where our standards have been set. Ick.

This video struck me as basically unethical. I'd be a little more forgiving if there was more to learn here than "dead things twitch when you shock 'em." There's no surprise or inspiration here, and very little art. Just someone with a lot of technological resources and free time. Again, ick.
posted by hermitosis at 4:57 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


this is what you see when you take jimson weed pills instead of e at the club
posted by pyramid termite at 5:37 PM on March 8, 2012


I'm not sure I understand the ethical case for why we need to treat our splayed dead preserved science frogs better than the other dead frogs we don't care about or those that we eat the legs of and throw the rest out. I've never heard anyone complain about this from an ethical point of view. Is this also problematic? Or when David Lynch lacquers rotten meat and insects to a board? I'm not wild about this video myself, it's kinda corny, but I suspect a lot of these ethical concerns come down to "dead things are yucky and I don't like it and wish she wouldn't do it." I'm also not really seeing much need to bring up the holocaust or treating people as things. They're dead frogs FFS, what do you want, a little froggy funeral with a solemn ceremony?
posted by Hoopo at 6:07 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This will achieve the status of true art once the frogs are wired to gyrate* to the MIDI tune of "Hello! Mah Baby."

*ONLY WHEN YOU'RE NOT LOOKING, that's why it's art
posted by nicebookrack at 8:15 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


what do you want, a little froggy funeral with a solemn ceremony?

Mushizuka
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:45 PM on March 8, 2012


Should've used Froggie Went a Courtin'...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:24 PM on March 8, 2012


It's not a very good video. There's too much editing and camerawork to really get the feel that the frogs were in synch to the beats. Good concept, poor execution.
posted by savvysearch at 1:21 AM on March 9, 2012


But we don't, or at least we shouldn't, disrespect the creatures that give their lives like this, whether the giving itself results in our eventual benefit or not. We certainly shouldn't take pleasure in their deaths.

I'm not in agreement with the notion that amusing yourself with a video of dead frog dancers is a slippery slope to the loss of human compassion. It's more of a moral argument rather than an ethical one. To many people, there is a dividing line for empathy, and that doesn't mean it leads to something like wantonly running over frogs that happen to be in their walking path.
posted by savvysearch at 2:03 AM on March 9, 2012


He couldn't have used hip-hop?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:31 AM on March 9, 2012


Within their natural environment, frogs are likely to encounter slippery slopes with some frequency. They're probably expert at negotiating them.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:04 PM on March 9, 2012


I eat meat. I even butcher my own chickens. I've taken chicken legs and shown the grandkids how the tendon running down the leg makes the foot open and close. These things I do/did for a purpose: people need to eat; meat is part of my diet. The chickens were raised to eat; I raised them well, and butchered them with due respect for the bird not suffering and the meat being of best quality. I showed the grandkids the foot not to entertain, but so that they recognize the amazing way in which bodies operate.

It's all about intent.

I find it hard to believe that this exhibit wasn't done with the intent of showing off and making money. Oooooo, look at me, I'm so edgy!

Hoopo, I'm not entertained or enlightened by any of the links you posted. Not art.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:11 PM on March 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't you just love it when people proclaim something *Not Art*? The final word has come down! It has been proclaimed! This has no value because I personally do not find it enlightening, entertaining, or worthy of attention!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:25 PM on March 10, 2012


r when David Lynch lacquers rotten meat and insects to a board?

This guy is no David Lynch.
posted by hermitosis at 10:08 AM on March 11, 2012


Hoopo, I'm not entertained or enlightened by any of the links you posted. Not art.

I was. So it was art. QED.
posted by empath at 10:56 AM on March 11, 2012


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