Tran­sreal Bod­ies and Dig­i­tized Clones: Bridg­ing Re­al­i­ties With Sound, Bio­met­rics and Mo­tion Cap­ture


Session Title:

  • Virtual Doppelgangers: Embodiment, Morphogenesis, and Transversal Action

Presentation Title:

  • Tran­sreal Bod­ies and Dig­i­tized Clones: Bridg­ing Re­al­i­ties With Sound, Bio­met­rics and Mo­tion Cap­ture




  • Panel: Virtual Doppelgangers: Embodiment, Morphogenesis, and Transversal Action

    From 2008-2011, Cárde­nas and Mehrmand have col­lab­o­rated and made in­di­vid­ual art­works which bridge re­al­i­ties and ex­tend the body son­i­cally and vi­su­ally. Through these ex­per­i­ments, they have de­vel­oped new tech­nolo­gies, aes­thetic strate­gies and forms of po­lit­i­cal em­bod­i­ment which are tran­sreal, cross­ing the lines of re­al­i­ties and using re­al­ity as a medium. These pro­jects work within what Ri­cardo Dominguez de­scribes as, “con­crete prac­tices as spec­u­la­tion and spec­u­la­tion as con­crete prac­tices – at the speed of dreams,”  ex­per­i­ment­ing with ways of link­ing their phys­i­cal bod­ies with our vir­tual dop­pel­gangers. These ex­per­i­ments form a tra­jec­tory of Sci­ence of the Op­pressed and point to­wards new lines of flight, mod­els such as tran­sreal, holo­graphic and clone iden­ti­ties. Be­com­ing Dragon ques­tions the one-year re­quire­ment of “Real Life Ex­pe­ri­ence” that trans­gen­der peo­ple must ful­fill in order to re­ceive Gen­der Con­fir­ma­tion Surgery, and asks if this could be re­placed by one year of “Sec­ond Life Ex­pe­ri­ence” to lead to Species Re­as­sign­ment Surgery. For the per­for­mance, Cárde­nas lived for 365 hours im­mersed in the on­line 3D en­vi­ron­ment of Sec­ond Life with a head mounted dis­play, only see­ing the phys­i­cal world through a video feed, and used a mo­tion cap­ture sys­tem to map her move­ments into Sec­ond Life.

    Sub­se­quently, Mehrmand and Cárde­nas col­lab­o­rated on Be­com­ing Tran­sreal, using ex­panded ver­sions of this tech­nol­ogy to map two avatars’ mo­tions in a slip­stream nar­ra­tive about fu­tures of nanobiotech­nol­ogy. Cárde­nas and Mehrmand began to col­lab­o­rate on mixed re­al­ity per­for­mances such as Technésex­ual, in which the per­form­ers com­mit play­ful erotic acts in phys­i­cal and vir­tual space si­mul­ta­ne­ously, using de­vices to am­plify the sound of their heart­beats for the two au­di­ences. An elec­tro­car­dio­gram was used to mon­i­tor the heart rate with an Ar­duino/Free­duino, play­ing a record­ing of the heart­beat at the live rate using Pure­data. Tem­per­a­ture sen­sors mod­u­late the pitch based on touch. DIY bio­met­rics are used to bridge re­al­i­ties with audio, find­ing ways of ex­plor­ing the space be­tween re­al­i­ties. The mix­ing of re­al­i­ties in this pro­ject can be seen as par­al­lel­ing our own ex­pe­ri­ences mix­ing gen­ders and sex­u­al­i­ties, queer­ing new media. Vir­tu­al­worlds such as Sec­ond Life fa­cil­i­tate the de­vel­op­ment of new iden­ti­ties, al­low­ing for unimag­ined re­la­tions and re­la­tion­ships. Technésex­ual looks closely at these new re­la­tion­ships, and how they af­fect our every­day lives and hori­zons of pos­si­bil­ity.

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