I Want to Touch You: Tran­sreal Aes­thet­ics in Virus.Circus


Session Title:

  • Queer Viralities: Resistant Practices in New Media Art & Philosophy

Presentation Title:

  • I Want to Touch You: Tran­sreal Aes­thet­ics in Virus.Circus




  • Panel: Queer Viralities: Resistant Practices in New Media Art & Philosophy

    Due to re­cent viral out­breaks, pro­tec­tive latex bar­ri­ers must be worn at all times.
    Skin to skin con­tact may re­sult in viral con­t­a­m­i­na­tion.
    Fail­ure to com­ply will re­sult in a min­i­mum of 10 years in a fed­eral pen­i­ten­tiary.
    Touch­ing, and ill­ness, are pro­hib­ited by law.
    The virus must be con­tained.

    virus.circus fol­lows the viral as a trans­ver­sal line of in­quiry that in­ter­sects with the mil­i­ta­riza­tion of med­ical au­thor­ity, mi­cro­scopic transna­tional mi­gra­tions and global eco­nomic in­equal­ity. Con­sist­ing of an episodic se­ries of per­for­mances using wear­able elec­tron­ics, soft sen­sors and live audio to bridge vir­tual and phys­i­cal spaces, the per­for­mances ex­plore queer fu­tures of latex sex­u­al­ity and DIY med­i­cine amidst a spec­u­la­tive world of virus hys­te­ria. The his­tory of queer pol­i­tics shows that the rhetoric of viruses such as HIV are used to con­trol mar­gin­al­ized pop­u­la­tions, while viruses such as H1N1 re­pro­duce these struc­tures of power. virus.circus asks how erotic af­fect can be a form of re­sis­tance to west­ern med­i­cine. Across episodes in­clud­ing virus.circus.touch, virus.circus.breath and virus.circus.probe, Mehrmand and Cárde­nas have de­vel­oped open source hard­ware and soft­ware to fa­cil­i­tate new forms of erotic ex­pres­sion.

    New pos­si­bil­i­ties of em­bod­ied knowl­edge un­fold through the soni­fi­ca­tion and vi­su­al­iza­tion of bio­met­ric data in­clud­ing heart rate and R-R in­ter­vals, as well as data from an ul­tra­sonic rangefinder bra, a pres­sure sens­ing chok­ing col­lar, touch sen­si­tive dress and a mo­tion sen­si­tive glove that con­trols a strap-on vi­bra­tor. Wear­able elec­tronic gar­ments allow the per­form­ers to ex­per­i­ment with tran­sreal em­bod­i­ment, ex­tend­ing their phys­i­cal bod­ies son­i­cally and vir­tu­ally. virus.?circus at­tempts to im­merse the au­di­ence/par­tic­i­pants in an al­ter­nate re­al­ity by cre­at­ing a slip­page of per­cep­tion. Code switch­ing be­tween mixed and al­ter­nate re­al­ity, virus.?circus asks how we can use re­al­ity as a medium, res­onat­ing across a num­ber of modes in­clud­ing pub­lic space in­ter­ven­tions, per­for­mances in mu­se­ums and gal­leries, and net­worked per­for­mances.

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