Embodied Machines, a survey of 20 years of my work in immersive narrative media at the Ringling Museum, Feb 25 – May 20 2018, featured two major installations: Artificial Changelings and The Dress That Eats Souls, the 10 episode video version of Spectropia and smaller interactive pieces, LED costumes, props, robots and other artifacts from work exploring embodied interface, responsive narrative structures and critical inquiries into emerging technologies. During the exhibition the live mix performance of Spectropia was presented, performed by R. Luke DuBois and myself in a 90 min outdoor event in the museum courtyard. In April a fully revamped production of Lucid Possession played for two nights at the historic Asolo Theater. Embodied Machines was curated by Matthew McLendon, Director of the Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia. Special Thanks to Christopher Jones, Curator of Photography and New Media at the Ringling Museum and to Joni Bradley for exhibition design.
The Dress That Eats Souls, 2018, is an interactive video and robotics installation that uses motion sensors to put the viewer into a visceral relationship with a giant Dress. A viewer’s body movement is mirrored by the robotics of the Dress as it guides you through time – it behaves as if you are wearing it. An overhead screen allows you to see out of the eyes of those who have worn the Dress over 200 years. Using head movement to navigate each story from the past, the Dress creates an intimate history of the human body and its relationship to the technologies that enhance, heal, damage or colonize it. A viewer is introduced to the Dress, it takes over, bosses you around, responds to your actions and ultimately consumes you.
The Dress That Eats Souls premiered at the Ringling exhibition and a tour is in the planning stages.
The exhibit opened with the interactive cinema installation Artificial Changelings, the story of Arathusa, a kleptomaniac in 19th century Paris who is dreaming of Zilith, an encryption hacker in the future. It was first presented at The Rotterdam International Film Festival in 1998. I thought of it as a romance thriller about shopping. A viewer’s body movement moves the video characters on a large curved screen altering video and sound. You navigate between different zones of a scene via floor pads. Moving back and forth between the centuries is done using a floor pad called the Time Tunnel. The piece was conceived as the Web emerged – I was thinking about what its future would be and how information and circulation themselves had become product.