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[Nettime-ro] FREE APPEAL
Florian LIBER on Tue, 1 Aug 2006 20:34:40 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-ro] FREE APPEAL

  Votati proiectul romanesc din inima Montrealului boem. Proiectul din domeniul artelor tehnologice si mediatice (interventie urbana, instalatie proiectie multimedia, performanta virtuala de dans) se afla inscris la pozitia a 3-a :
  Position 03 : Démembrement du corps humain 2.1 proposé par : Florin Liber
  La adresa :
  Merci in avans, Florian
  Demers artistico-teoretic :
  © F.Liber, CA
  This project of ephemeral intervention proposes to present the recent transformations of the artistic productions into public environment rejoining new technologies and the new media with the current social nexus, in the heart of Montreal metropolis. ?Mettre en scène? an interactive virtual performance of the digital images of synthesis by means of a multi-media projection installation, a video installation.  It is about the interfaced performance ?Human Body Dismemberment HBD  2.2?[1] which is used to illustrate, as a multi-media proposal, how the virtual performance can be used within a communication framework at the time of an public intervention.
  This kind of artistic show bares back, then again, the claim to a media opening, that of the multi-media projection-installation, in the public space.  We can?t help but wonder about the relation between the technological work of art, the projection-installation and the so-called "architecture for perception".  The concept of a multi-media projection-installation always bared, as an immersive and relational medium, a strong connection to the public and private place: in architectural spaces (representative buildings and historical monuments), in urban spaces (corporate towers, sky scrapers, transport?s underground networks), in industrial complexes (factories) and in the art galleries.  Architecture, as a purpose for perception as in the case of an intra muros intervention, is materialized into two internal mural surfaces (see technical information).  The possibility of projecting the images on any surface, including the walls? You have several surfaces of projection in
 front of you...  As you turn your head, this simulation creates the appearance that you really are in a simulated environment (Ross, 2004).  The moving sense of the dance is embedded in the relational space.  It is, in fact, the interactive space for improvisation and contact, a real-time dialogue, completely self-regulated, between the artist and the audience.  We will further see the grounds that justify the introduction of a contact improvisation instead of a plain interaction as soon as it comes to an interactive performance.
  The projection-installation used as a medium, as well as any multi-media proposal, indicates a complex functionality:  it designates a framework, which is as much a communicational frame as a relational one.  Using the principles of a visual art?s exhibition and the media?s approach to connect the artist with his public, the context of a virtual performance produced here would, therefore, make sense.  In this case, the work of art in virtual format ?HBD?, when stored on a multi-media DVD support and projected afterwards on a world environment, opens discussions on the formal aspect of the process of communication in an artistic experiment addressing an audience.  It asks the audience to select a trajectory in the immersive public environment (see technical information), to respond to the action of the performing structure, to participate to entrenched situations by soliciting a kind of interrelation, which processing and relational arts truly needs. This situation,
 established during the public intervention via the ?HBD? multi-media projection-installation, is the result of the current artistic practices (public intervention).  They are rendered, here, by the inter-crossings between digital visual arts, media arts and performing process.  Therefore, we are, at this instant, forced to think over the way the information is transmitted to the audience and to completely reinvent the audience-artist equation. Weber (2003, page 37) speaks about an articulation, in our case in the public environment, a double production of sense of the exposed object and its setting into social.  The artist asserts a new "dimension of the exposition as media", as relational art ergo relational architecture[2].
  Let?s put it in context: if we add a high resolution  webcam connection hooked up to a microcomputer that would be able to obtain images during the public projection, we could, then, install a cyber link on a website to view the images from the webcam or net cam.  Thus allowing a new interactive act (of contact and improvisation).  This way, we could also project the virtual performance onto the cyberspace; the post-dramatic body would then make an escape into electronic networks.  Then again, thanks to the ?www? interface, the audience is now able to perceive the application in real-time. This inevitably leads us to consider the application in a strongly interactive and relational way:  "you can interact with simulations, as you can influence the space of the computer and change the course of events" (Sharir, Virtual Bodies, p. 3).  In case the audience is located in the immersive medium of the projection-installation environment, and carries out spontaneous movements
 (or consciously directed ones), it will interact with the simulation in an improvised way.  The spectator truly lives and evolves in the environment and rams along the simulation.  This type of improvisation-contact has the effect of altering the appearance of the choreographic path, as seen on the Internet; and implicitly, we can distinguish the ?social intrusion? of the spectator through the synthetic images.
  A new esthetics of the body
  It is well known that the digital virtualization process is based on emerging but somehow fleeting technologies.  We will not question ourselves on the ephemeral status of new medias and technologies, but we will rather explore, here, the constituents of a primary symbolic code that would give a semiotic significance to a virtual language, which is revealed by an actual artistic practice, in general, and by a typology of the dismembered body, in particular.
  In a new order of things, what kind of emphasis could we use to bring forward the dismembered body so it could reach the zenith of a symbiotic man-machine?  Can the notation system of the body?s movements, built with virtual digital grounds, hold any meaning at all?  Will it change the cultural relations between an already existing visual anthropology, outdated, and the future of digital images in motion?  
  In the attempt to answer some of those questions, we introduce a new concept: thus of the post-dramatic body, as a replica, in similar terms, of the post-human body attributed to the android (virtually issued from over-materialized and automated artificial limbs), in terms employed by Stelarc. The analog body in the physical performance (in the environment-world) will become the post-dramatic body of the virtual performance ?but only by using the techniques of digital virtualization as an architectural hardware in the creative process.  This post-dramatic body is technically confused or embedded with the cyber-dancer?s body on the interfaced digital scene, which holds, as an ontological referent, an hybrid (or hyper-body) of virtual corporealizations (or the dismembered body).  The site of the virtual performance is the location of the numerical stage circumscribed by the interfaced environment.  The analog body, while dismembering in virtual artifacts, can modify its own
 morphology from the cyber-dancer?s body by performing a complex movement on the digital scene ?this is the birth of the post-dramatic body.  And if the dramatic body emerges from the analog body?s physical performance, the post-dramatic body, then, is actualized during the virtual performance.  In this particular aspect, the human body takes on its virtual attributes while embodying its virtual entities.  After going through the interface, it lives in the interfaced environment. The actualization of this virtual entity, in the process of creation, results in the invention of a new morphology of the moving body: "starting from a dynamic configuration of forces and finalities" (Lévy).  The equation of a new morphology of the restructured body by a nonverbal language central in terms of digital virtuality, leads to a complex solution complementing the virtual entity.  In this matter, the solution lies in the construction (creation) of a language relating to the post-dramatic
 body.  The non-verbal language of this post-dramatic body, as the one used for this ?HBD 2.1? virtual performance, holds a profound composition from the structural-functional core, of which the structural composites are the primary plastic and gesture codes.  The structural-functional core is the constitutional mainstay of the post-dramatic body?s own language.  Our analysis highlights the plastic code (the artistic plasticity in the image?s final projection), as well as the gesture code (the chorographical narration).  The creation of a meaning to all this implies the construction of a matrix of significations able to enclose some symbolic functions holding a certain esthetical and communicational values.  Those symbolic functions, as elements of a matrix of significations, are given to act as the content?signifier of the post-dramatic body?s activity.  In other words, the birth of a relevant non-verbal language for digital virtuality, at the dawn of a new age of the
 sensible, deploys an anthropomorphic reading of the post-dramatic body in its artistic context of performance; an aesthetic strategy which will be developed in order to produce synthesized images in movements.  This strategy directly implies the existence of a matrix of significations which functions are purely symbolic and based on the plasticity of digital images: the cyber-dancer?s narrative choreography on the digital scene.
  When it comes to the ?HBD 2.2? application on DVD attached, (Offrandes au Virtuel, or virtual offerings), we developed a specific language for technological arts which denotes a complex encoding of the human body, and also emerges from a pragmatic finality.  In terms of the analysis of the dismembered body?s matrix of significations (in the creative process), this birthing language unveils a semantic vision of the body issued from the virtual performance.  As artists and virtual performers, we are using a new language for digital virtuality in order to create a new digital work of art, to built a matrix of significations, to expand the physical and technical boundaries of the analog body in order for it to reach the interfaced scene of the cyber-dancer: the state of a post-dramatic body.  A new matrix for the significations of the so post-dramatic body, begins to make sense here as the creative process of the virtual ?HBD 2.2? performance goes on.  The symbolic functions
 of the matrix of significations in the non-verbal language are artistically produced via the specific tools of digital virtuality, or via digital tools of the post-dramatic body?s creation.  In other words, the semantic dimension of the post-dramatic body here lies on a matrix of significations that emerges during the creation-actualization process.  Some digital tools that are helping to create symbolic functions of a post-dramatic body, which the narrative choreography?s gesture code and plastic code of synthetic images, depends on the artist?s capacity to represent, on the virtual level, a birthing reality and his own ability to achieve its complex operations. This new choreography of the post-dramatic body is a notation system of the dance rules of the virtual interpreter.  As for the plasticity of the synthesized images, a kind of plasticity of the cybernetic model, it refers to the post-organic texture of the human body, technologically mixed in the container filled
 by the A.C.L. screen?s fluids (plasma) or in flattened two-dimensional surfaces, which are taking an architectural form during a mural projection.  The machine transforms the usual perception of the body via synthesized images.  The ?multiprocessor - human being? symbiosis represents, therefore, a rupture between the obsolete body and the actualized body (as a tendency).  It is asserted that the gesture code in a narrative choreography and the synthetic images? primary plastic codes are, in fact, two complementary functions of the symbolic process of construction. The settings of the gesture and plastic codes, in a viable language, are accordingly articulating the production of meaning.  And the post-dramatic body, in charge of its symbolic character, is becoming a malleable structure. Indeed, the primary codes, including the gesture and plastic codes, emerge from the structural-functional core, and are then given the goal to take part in the constitution of the language. 
 The genesis of the language, under discussion here, is based on the existence of a matrix of the significations relating to the creative process in terms of measurements of the artist?s ability to produce viable semiotic functions, inductive of a certain reality.  Moreover, on the level of the post-dramatic body, the constitution of a matrix of significations is equivalent to the capacity of the technological artist to re-actualize, at any given moment, the symbolic functions.  Actualization of the virtual condition is an open work or ?work in progress?  (a term used by Claire Bishop in the article Antagonism of relational esthetics, published in 2004).  A framework emerges in strain with what already existed.  The multi-processor, the video card, and the software all reinterpret the physical movement of the dancer; his body is multiplied, symmetrically arranged, pixelized.  And the digital body, fragmented then re-composed, self-performs in the virtual space.  The color
 transformations, vectorialization, pixelized human forms and transparencies therefore, challenge this picturesque image. The body parts, its flesh, all find themselves segmented and mixed together.  Transparencies allow an emptied and shallow vision of a body that can duplicate ad infinitum.  The digital treatment tools then give birth to a virtual being made out of ?digital flesh?.  Its re-crafted body is subjected to experiments.  It is now possible to affect or alter, in an extreme way, its form and human appearance.  The semiotic lecture of the visual narration is now going way beyond mimetic reflection.
  The capture of reality by the post-dramatic body creation process lies in the production of a meaning in the final moving images, which is also reinforced by symbolic functions.  The production of meaning unveils a media speech related to the production and diffusion of the post-dramatic body?s digital images of synthesis.  The relation will no longer have anything to do with the reality of the human body, but it will rather associate with the reality of the dismemberment, as long as this dismemberment generates reality. We are here talking of a tributary language for digital virtuality, at the very dawn of a new age of the sensible. And under this perspective, it would be necessary to explore digital techniques and conceptual ends, which emerge from the artistic performances as practiced in virtual dance.  We will, here, limit ourselves to only a few experimental tools tied to body languages.  Let?s note, for now, that the symbolic core of our aesthetic strategy explores
 semiotic functions, bodily activities.
  First, the somewhat violent passage through the interface brings us to the territory of ?physical laws of digital virtuality? with the eradication of Euclidian space, the radical crumbling of the organic human flesh, the deconstruction of the space-related codes of the Albertian perspective.  We will analyze a few sequences from the virtual ?HBD 2.2? performance which sustain and illustrate the previous assertion (on DVD, coming soon).
  In the sequences entrenched between 0: 22 and 0: 59, we are simulating the passage through the interface by employing means that can horizontally dismantle the bodily form.  In the first 22 seconds, the Euclidian space is folded like an envelope, and the image of the conventional scene is analytically fragmented.  We then prepare the dematerialization of the body?s style into synthesis images.  And, by using the vectorialization process, which effect is to pulverize the digital flesh and to reveal the humerus of the right arm and metacarpus of the left hand, we are in fact paying tribute to the artists of the human dissection (see the Western Renaissance of the XIV to the XVI centuries).  In the fixed sequence at 1: 21, we can notice the ?facial mutilation?, which is followed by an artistic reconstruction of the portrait of the cyber-dancer?s interpreter.  Digital plasticity (graphic form and structure, post-organic material and texture, color) of the post-dramatic body
 brings out the possibility to perceive the architectural monument-entity of the virtual body?s attributes. (See the sequence between 1: 23 and 1: 49, a kind of slideshow of digital photographs).  The dismembering ritual visually renders the empty body?s material transparency, without it?s organs  (1: 50 to 2: 20).  On another level, ?the dismembering dance?, which goes on from 2: 22 to 3: 05, progresses in a whole narrative choreography. The scene production of the significant and continuous narration relies on a diversity of quantified gestures, which we directed previously as a choreographer and a director.  And as artists (choreograph, director, digital), we all use means of expressions to signify.  Consequently, we here arranged the figured details of the dismemberment by amplifying the quantified gestures of the post-dramatic body in order to conceive ?humanly impossible movements?  (see from 2: 51 to 2: 55).
  The musical code, on its part, is reduced to the digital tracking of the movements: the acoustic acceleration of rhythms, the aggressiveness of an experimental sound, inequalities in loudness, sudden discontinuities, absence of sound. As of the changes of colors, the unreal polarization of skin and décor extend from the complete distortion of an image to the color correction filter.  The final sequence, ?Offrandes au Virtuel?, seems like a structural construction which could bring us back to Baroque, (the visual center of reference is located in the middle of an ?X?). The body moves repeatedly, disrupted only by stopping movements towards the extreme left of the scene, towards a virtual imaginary altar, carrying an offering.  This is the principal branch of the ?X?.  Subsequently, we notice the disappearance of the human body from amongst the technological meanders (4: 48 to 5: 32).  The performance will resume all over again, infinitely following its looping path.  And
 the temporal non-linear path is highlighted by integral and differential techniques (quantum differences and integral repetitions), delays and periods of inactivity, looping movements (and/or forwards-backwards), shiftings of speed, and quantification of time according to the machine?s multiple clocks (the order of magnitude in the frequencies ~ nGHz).  The digital writing by the dismembered body?s dance, seen through synthesized images, brings us to create a new choreography of the new dance, to recreate a powerful body which is not so human, but more machine-like.  Devices of digital virtualization and its prolongations, including multi-media installations and projections, carry us back to the existence of several bodies:  multiplication, modification, transformation, reinvention of moving bodies.  We here produced an extreme sense of meaning, all in order to break the articulations of an obsolete visual anthropology, to dig the contemporary imagination. 
  © Fl.Liber, University of Montreal
    [2] The concept of relational architecture is employed by the artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (urban interventions performed in Rotterdam, Lisbon, Linz etc).  ? some interactive public works of Lozano-Hemmer: Vectorial Elevation, Body Movies.

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