[-empyre-] the inadequate, the involuntary, the alternate...
stelarc at va.com.au
Fri May 15 08:55:56 EST 2009
Hi Norah (Stomatia, Ashley, Christina, Alan, Sally Jane, Erin,
Johannes, Tim and Renato)-
Just to say that this posting will not be in sync with the most recent
exchanges. I am staying in a hotel with very expensive internet access
which I can't afford. And during the day I'm busy programming. Anyway,
this was done last night and being sent morning, Sydney time!
I'm delighted to read the articulate and astute observations made by
all of the participants about critical motion practice which have
accumulated but remained unanswered in my In-box.
As a counterpoint to the ideas that have unfolded in these exchanges,
perhaps the most appropriate contribution I can make is to suggest
something other- the experience of the body as inadequate,
involuntary and augmented. A body immersed in uncertainty, anxiety and
ambivalence. A body that is absent from itself, empty in itself and
exhausted by itself. This has generated ambivalence, uncertainty and
anxiety. The body might be enabled and accelerated, but this only
exposes and amplifies its obsolescence.
In an age of excess, the body needs to cope with mixed realities,
telematic embrace and its chimeric other. It is an age of circulating
flesh, fractal flesh and phantom flesh. It is also a time of
multiplying and outmoded metaphysical assumptions still affirming the
biological status-quo of the body or perpetuating disconcerting
desires of out-of-body experiences. We still speak as if these bodies
possess inner selves. As if speech is an outering from something inner.
Performances such as Fractal Flesh and Ping Body explored remote
actuation of the body wired to a computer sequenced muscle stimulation
system. In Fractal Flesh people in other places prompt the body to
move. In Ping Body mapping the reverberating ping signal, measured in
milliseconds is mapped to the body's musculature. The body moves as a
crude barometer of internet activity. The body is seen as a split
body. Voltage-in, to jerk the left arm and leg up and down and voltage-
out, to actuate a mechanical third hand. The body moves, but not
through space. Its task envelope is defined by its limb motion but the
internet constructs it as an alternate and extended operational system.
Movatar was an inverse motion-capture system where an avatar, imbued
with genetic algorithms, whose behavior varies during the performance,
actuated the two arms using a pneumatically powered upper body
exoskeleton. The body becomes a prosthesis enabling the motion of an
avatar in the real world. The body becomes both a possessed and
performing body, simultaneously actuated and improvising. The body not
as a single agency, but also a host for an artificial entity.
The performances were done in a posture of indifference. Indifference
as opposed to expectation. Actions without anticipation. Moments
without memory. Indifference to allow an unfolding of the performance
in its own time, with its own rhythm. Ashley's space for the in-
between not only connects but opens up. It's also a pause that allows
for reflexion, infection and interpretation. Perhaps this is a fatal
moment and a moment of collapse. Its what happens when there is a
slippage between the intention and the action. A singularity in
programming a robot occurs at a moment when, because of multiple
possibilities, the robot can't choose which one to execute. What
happens when a dancer stops but then can't start?
Chair in Performance Art
School of Arts
Brunel University West London
Senior Research Fellow & Artist in Residence
University of Western Sydney
More information about the empyre