Kathleen Rogers: Bioapparatus

Technology and Body
VR produced at the Banff Centre for the Arts Canada during a residency conceived by Catherine Richards and Nell Tenhaff who introduced the themes of the technological apparatus, the technological body, and the new biology. This was one of the first public arts events to examine virtual realities and the interfaces between technology and the human body



Video stills from Bioapparatus

The 10 week residency involved 21 artists, writers, philosophers and scientists and centered around the notion of the bioapparatus, a term used to cover a wide range of issues concerning the technologised body and the cultural and political manifestations of virtual reality.

A number of works were developed from theories of perceptual psychologist Rudolph Arnheim. In his book, The Power of the Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts, he gives importance to the whole sensorium of the body, including gravity on the reading of an artwork. I applied his observations of gravity and visual perception to simple Euclidian points, lines and planes projected into the black void of the VR world. In VR, the sensations of locomotion and position are paradoxes that require careful observation and experiment. I made a number of exercises to capture a moment of consciousness between stillness and movement. Creating primitive wire frame models and rendering them with images from a previous artwork, the Still Room in order to experience them in this new context. For instance in VR, falling through the surface of images produces a cut, similar to an film edit. Hopscotch, provided a metaphor for the nature of VR gravity because of the impulse it provided to jump or fall through the virtual model and the navigational path it provided.

Given today's 'hyper-real' environment of image saturation on the one hand, leaving art and artists in what has been called a crisis of representation, and the development of highly sophisticated representational technologies on the other hand, it has become crucial to open up and expand the discourse on art and new technologies. The territory has been interpreted most often through the lens of technology itself, disconnected from the broad range of art practises and cultural discourses circulating today. The artists, composers and writers in the residency have been brought together principally to advance their own art production. In addition, we have built a parallel objective into the residency - namely to map significant shifts in philosophical and representational issues that are coextensive with technological change

Catherine Richards, Nell Tenhaff
The Bioapparatus Catalogue

Publication and Presentation

Human, Machine and Animal Cognition, Aix en Provence

Assemblage, Edinburgh Film Festival

The French Ministry of Culture, Paris - Delegation of the Arts Plastiques - Digital Salon
Participant with Anne Marie Duquet and artist Louis Bec to introduce VR themes and the Bioapparatus. The aim of the panel was to present future technological research and invent new initiatives to integrate the methodologies of science and art into educational culture.

Posted by Kathleen on January 28, 2006 5:30 PM to Kathleen Rogers