By  on June 15, 2005

People often ask Meghan Trainor if she triggers the alarm system whenever she goes into Barnes & Noble. That’s because she has a radio frequency identification tag embedded in her arm. It’s part of an interactive sculpture series she created out of rubber, plaster and wireless tags. The piece, called “With Hidden Numbers,” consists of a dozen or so small objects in a box that are meant to be picked up and played with. The objects have a ghostly, familiar, time-worn quality, like something dug up from the recent past that you recognize but can’t quite place. There is a transparent, amber-colored rubber bar that looks like Neutrogena soap. And some dagger-shape and rounded objects that turn out to be modeled on plumb bobs and porcelain elevator insulators. There are also squares with markings that resemble mah-jongg tiles. All have embedded RFID tags.

When Trainor holds one of the objects near a scanner, it triggers a recording of an authoritative male voice reading numbers. When she waves the scanner over her arm, it plays “Hey Mami, you sexy, you beautiful,” a sample from the rap song “Hey Mami” by Fannypack. Soon she’s holding two objects at once and waving them back and forth, dancing and interweaving samples of sound like a DJ scratching on vinyl.

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