Re: [-empyre-] AFFECT

With the larger more environmental installations parasite often tries to encourage a direct interaction, to encourage people to walk through and investigate, even to participate with the performance. "trans-border: primitive man @edge of virtual forest / hyaku-take" intended to immerse the body in a mediatized environment - projections and audio - but the spatial configuration was to impede any direct movement. We wanted to challenge the physical body, make one aware of their physicality yet be immersed in the speed and ubiquity of the image and aural - the biological/media and physical/ephemeral. We had a few takers but most just looked, a curious peeking. Most of the viewers remained just that, passive viewers, and looked at the work from the periphery. The best participant was a young child - 5-7 years old.

To address a psychological/emotional reaction: During the opening of "parallel conditions in a field of fluctuating probabilities," which occupied an empty storefront on a somewhat pedestrian road in downtown San Antonio, we had much the same usual reaction - curious peeking, quick walk around and on to the next exhibit. However, we did have one strong reaction to it. One gentleman inspected it quite closely for nearly 10-20 minutes. He approached us asking what we had wanted to make. We said we had some ideas but wanted to know his reaction/interpretation first. Quite surprising to us, his flat out immediate response was "Vietnam". He was a Vietnam War veteran and the materials had a very strong association to his memories there - metal screen wrapping bamboo, bamboo piercing a car hood, construction lights, and 'floating' stainless steel. He didn't go into much detail and we explained our intention. Upon his leaving, "Yep, reminds me of Nam".

The subsequent 3-4 installations were directly informed by life cycles of insects - larva, pupa, grub, chrysalis - but rather than keeping them purely biological they were mechanized and mediatized. Their organic forms were 'supported' by prosthetic 'organs' - motors, sensors, pumps, monitors - salvaged from junkyards or recycling centers so there was always an intermingling of animate/inanimate, biological/mechanical or organic/inorganic.

During Easy Credit Theater's performance for "Chrysalis Bridge" one of the audience members, a mid-twenties woman, basically joined in the performance. The performance was a three-hour work that went from absolutely stillness to an orgiastic frenzy. During the still portion, the woman approached the performers, who were completely wrapped in cellophane cocoons, and lightly massaged their bodies, as if attempting to awaken or resuscitate them. This was by far the most radical shift from viewer to participant.

In RE:positions (with Scott Pobiner) I had built a smaller version of a site in Tokyo - a narrow alley that opened onto a river and overlaid projections and soundtrack of various sounds and images from the area. It was an attempt to relocate qualities of the site into a gallery space 13 time zones away. In "peephole shadow sounds" (with Shubhra Raje) had made an installation in her neighboring office that questioned the role of the wall. She cut a portion of the wall out and attached a hinge and thereby making the wall a door. I latched onto this by attaching wires to the door that: one, acted as a counter weight to provide resistance to opening the door and two, triggered sound and video projections. However these actions could only be witnessed from the exterior. The interior reaction could only be viewed through the building's windows, through a peephole that looked into the room, or heard. Thus the installation was never activated by the viewer, but by a displaced event.

I think the effect is to recognize the increasing prosthetic nature of existence and that we can affect and are affected by remote actions, that there are displaced consequences, and that we are increasingly mediated, i.e. we use objects (prostheses) to cause immaterial/ephemeral actions.

Ultimately, the viewers' immersion or involvement with the work comes to whether one wants to engage the work and whether they are willing to make the "suspension of disbelief". So far this seems to be done more readily by people with strong visual associations and memories or by people unhindered with preconceived notions of appropriateness or reservations of interacting with art in space, like the child or young woman.

Kick back and relax with hot games and cool activities at the Messenger Café.

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.