A friend says she is going to MIT hackathon to absorb youthful techno-idealism. I wrote about techno-idealism in 2008 with our first work, and, well, things, didn’t work out so well… . Reconstructing Mayakovsky is an experimental game-novel which tells the story of a near post-apocalyptic future where the Earth is mostly uninhabitable so everyone’s bodies are kept alive, stored like sardines, in hives, while their minds roam in virtual realities, guarded by a super computer called The Oracle. It came out in 2008 and still pretty much works thanks to the robust coding of my artistic partner Cyril Tsiboulski. This is the first thing we made together and I still think it is awesome. Fake investment video, an archive stuck in time–accumulating 404 errors, a hand drawn animation done in collaboration with Pelin Kirca, a concrete poetry generator, an audio soundscape/thoughtgame/podcast of all 90,000 words of text. And this manifesto–the graphic design for which was taken from Roentgen’s first published scientific report of x-rays. I think it is still pretty damn on point. And, funny. Hope some day now that 12 years have past, to find an actual publisher for the text of the novel. At the time, no one had any clue what it was we’d made.. www.reconstructingmayakovsky.com
Michael DeBartolo and Chris Vo in rehearsal for dance sequence in Ark (photo by Asya Gorovits)
Attention NYC’ers -we are beta testing Ark –the newest Queerskins VR experience, co-produced by Intel and shot this summer at the largest volumetric capture stage in the world.
In Ark, a devoutly Catholic mother living in rural Missouri finds away to overcome (for a time) her grief and herself, by imagining the son she has lost to AIDS, alive and in love. Brandon Powers choreographed an exquisite dance for this and Cyril Tsiboulski has created a groundbreaking interactive experience. You do not want to miss this. No experience necessary, in fact, we are looking for newbies!
January 20th (MLK day) 1 PM to 5 PM near Grand Street stop on L train in East Williamsburg. The whole thing will take maximum 30 minutes of your time. Please respond to this post to reserve a time so you don’t have to wait.
Following McLuhan,“putting our physical bodies inside our extended nervous systems, by means of electric media, we set up a dynamic by which…all such extensions of our bodies, including cities, will be translated into information systems,” (McLuhan 57), in this essay, I will argue that, for cyborg bodies, the change is less material than epistemological: how we process information, how we write and read the world and our identities is fundamentally changing.
Emojis, avatars, thumbs up and down, the swipe, the pinch, the spread, little hearts are ways of commodifying, standardizing and making legible, complex aspects of human communication which computers cannot process accurately or easily make profitable. Although not all the artworks discussed in this book are overtly political, by utilizing the affordances of digital technology, all reveal the constraints of the machine-based communication systems which they creatively co-opt. The artworks here are hybrids: human and machine, truth and fiction, content and form. It is the reader, moved by desire or memory or simply rules of the game, who, through her interaction, sets the dynamo in motion.
Thus, the digital imaginary is an intrinsically political space. As Haraway suggests in her manifesto: “…the relation between organism and machine has been a border war. The stakes in the border war have been the territories of production, reproduction and imagination.“ (Haraway)
What is at stake here, as David Clarke’s The End: Death in Seven Colours intimates, is nothing less than the concept of “human.”
Heartbreaking monologue performed by Michael DeBartolo as Sebastian from Queerskins. Undirected, recorded into a phone. Just devastatingly good and true. My heart aches listening.
These will be the basis of an immersive theater piece I am writing around Queerskins: Ark VR. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Really pleased and surprised that Atomic Vacation — the story of a little robot girl from the post-apocalyptic future that started us making in VR and which made us fall in love with 3D volumetric filmmaking (Depthkit!) and got put on hold because no $ and Queerskins, is accepted into the IDFA Forum
in the company of some AMAZING projects. We will be coming to Amsterdam to pitch, armed with an early prototype, a new artist’s book/comic book created in collaboration with Karen Llamas, and plans for an interactive installation. This hybrid doc project is a truly strange and deeply poetic narrative database game. Not only will it make you question what it means to be human, it will hopefully bring attention to our dreadful nuclear past and increasingly worrisome future. Taking inspiration from Sarah Ahmed’s assertion that alternative ways of constructing space, might end up “redirecting our attention toward different objects, those that are ‘less proximate’ or even those that deviate or are “deviant,” we create a series of heterotopias that are both wonderful and truly disturbing. We have been told it is either “batshit crazy” or “genius”. We think it is both. Come say “hi”!
Excited to work through this in conjunction with our VR experience Queerskins: ark set to premier in 2020. What I love about VR is this ability to start playing with and exploring who we are, what we value and who we might be in the future. For me it is a kind of laboratory that uses storytelling and presence for its experiments. We are just beginning to see the potential of this. I think of having audience members say lines from the diary in a theatrical piece as asking them to put on a “queer” skin that fits and doesn’t fit and exploring the boundaries of what they call “self” and also what they reject as “other,” just as I did in writing Sebastian’s diary.
Here is the wonderful actor Michael DeBartolo as Sebastian describing having sex with James as a teenager at a truck stop in Missouri. It’s not rainbows and unicorns, it will never be printed on a tote bag for pride month. But, it’s raw and true and beautiful. Bravo, Michael.
I’ll also be giving a talk on Saturday at the V&A on empathy and VR— diving into embodied cognition and art -historical constructions of space and how spatial orientation and perspective relate to empathy. Come see us!