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A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

I thought people/well "humans" may be interested in my current project
which centers around the desire to transform the body by technology and
the need to transform our types of desire. It will be illustrated with
excerpts from my new work at the ZKM, Mediemmuseum, Karlsruhe, called
Digital Body-Automata. 

This consists of three installations called: A Figurative History (past
mechanical transformation); Interskin (present digital transformation) and
Immortal Duality (future molecular transformation).  These installations
are designed to encourage intimate and contemplative and interactive
participation on the part of the viewer and center around a similar theme; 
the exploration of the desire to transform the human body by technology,
and the effect technology may have on the design of the human body in the

"A Figurative History" consists of five interactive terminals with smart
objects and corresponding screens. By touching the objects, the viewers
can see animated characters on the screens, which represent five different
types of fantasies about the mechanical transformation of the body by
technology:  Frankenstein's monster (1890), Lady Miso (1750); Pandora
(BC), The Cyborg (1250) and The Data Body (1950).  The desires to
transform these bodies is further extended by the touch of the other
viewers in the space, as well as mechanically through the sculptural

More internal and ephemeral desires for transformations of the body are
effected by the digitization of medical imaging and computer mapping of the
interior of the human body.  Such is the experience of the Virtual Reality
Game called "Interskin". The players can "go inside" separate body parts,
guided by selected "avatars" or "agents". Together these body parts form a
spiral around the "T'an Tien" or center of the human body. In the game one
can explore the gender and identity of a second self or other body which
may resides deep inside the viewer's personality.

"Immortal Duality" discusses the implications of molecular transformation.
As the viewers move in the space, an Interactive Automata comments on the
paradox of Science in molecular transformation; from the early discovers of
phenomena like radium to the latest developments in DNA manipulation and
Human Genome Mapping. Around the walls of this environment, a depiction of
ethical issues about anti-aging, cloning and reproduction are displayed,
and, the viewer can interact with these to compose associations of their

These works suggest that a shift in our notions of "matter" and of "nature"
may change the way artists represent the human body. As micro-biologists
have cloned a sheep and predict human cloning in the near future, I wonder,
both from the perspective of a woman and an artist, what will happen to
"reproduction". Without a conscious transformation of our desires we will
still need to question the applications and implications of technological

Jill Scott.

ZKM | Zentrum fuer Kunst und Medientechnologie
       | Medienmuseum, Jill Scott


Postfach 6909
Kaiserstrasse 64
76049 Karlsruhe.

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