Toni Dove: Embodied Machines at The Ringling Museum of Art Feb – May 2018

Toni Dove: Embodied Machines, The Ringling Museum of Art, 2018

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.

A catalogue accompanied the exhibition and was published and is distributed by Scala and is also available from Amazon



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.

For information on touring the exhibit, individual performances or installations please contact:  Toni Dove: or Matthew McLendon:



Finite/Infinity ///Toni Dove and Bora Yoon: behind the scenes

Bora Yoon recently asked me to do a music video for her new album Sunken Cathedral. I was definitely up for it – there were some things I wanted to try out with cameras and lenses and this was the perfect opportunity. The song is Finite Infinity.

SUNKEN CATHEDRAL is a multimedia release that began with the album release performance in April 2014 as Asia Society NYC. The (Gr)album trilogy launched in November 2014 and is available in the iTunes store ( and the staged theater production premieres in January 2015 at the PROTOTYPE Festival (

Bora Yoon is a TED Fellow, Korean-American composer, vocalist, and pioneering sound artist who explores the connection of sound to the subliminal. Featured on the front-page of the The Wall Street Journal for her musical innovations, she creates architectural soundscapes using found objects from different cultures and centuries, chamber instruments, digital devices, and voice.

We shot for 4 days around lower Manhattan. The footage in the rain was shot on my street corner with a C stand, some plexi and a Hudson sprayer. Andy Dintenfass, our cinematographer brought ideas like this to the table. Andy shot some of the first rock videos for Stevie Nicks and  Billy Joel. Art Jones was AC and beyond. It was a three person crew with me directing – having three artists on board allowed us freedom and creative opportunities not possible with a larger crew. We switched roles, tried things out. Bora was a trouper and game to experiment with us.

We shot by the river below Chambers street and on the sidewalk bridge going over the highway. Some of the beautiful color and vintage cinema feel were due to a Dog Schidt optiks lens. It has a very special quality and when attached to an Iscorama anamorphic adapter, it gave us oval bokeh like a classic anamorphic cinema lens.

This location is near the Lower Manhattan Community College looking through to the river. They were loading something the night we shot and it was…well… not a bug, but a feature. We were pushing the camera at night with only available light, but it held up.

Mixing the dynamic range of the raw video and the digital sensor with vintage lenses and the Iscorama anamorphic adapter creates a cinematic quality that I haven’t found before in video. The language of lenses! Beautifully crafted optical machines – seeing machines. I wanted to experiment with an anamorphic adapter, vintage lenses and the Magic Lantern hack for the Canon 5Diii that allows you to shoot raw video. It turns a DSLR into an amazing cinema machine. Here’s the rig we used. 15mm rails and a cage, follow focus, battery pack, and external monitor on a tripod. Very portable.

A Leica R 90 mm f2 modded for cinema by DuClos and a Dog Schidt Optiks 58mm lens with a fixed oval aperture. This is a rehoused russian vintage Helios lens. It’s known for a particular swirly bokeh. In addition we played some with a Go Pro to do some underwater photography. In my bathtub and with footage I shot at the beach on the vineyard to add some dimension to the water.

Please stay tuned for information on an upcoming project. I’m hard at work on a robotic dress cinema interface. Learning about soft robotics, muscle wire and 3D printing. This music video is a rehearsal for the cinematic component of the upcoming piece. More as it develops.