The title of this sculpture work references “The Elephant Man”, the movie directed by David Lynch. Referring to the artistic practice of the “Oject Trouvé”, It is an investigation of the issues of monstrosity and abnormality and the forms embedded in objects that embody historic ideas of innovation and the transitions that occurs when a technology is on the verge of becoming obsolete. The loss of paradigma and the insinuating sense of shame associate with it.
“Two Pathways” is a sculpture on semiotic systems. My work often explores the clashing of two different aesthetic languages, one of which is perceived to be a mutant, or a radical departure from the other, that suggests instead a certain accepted tradition.
1993. Sculpture. Mixed Media. 24’’X 36”
Zink Plates, Plexiglass, Silicon and Painting
170 cm x 120 cm
Multimedia Performance. 2001
The Ubu Progect is a theatrical performance combining the early use of web3D and streaming technology to create a networking event that took place simultaneously at multiple locations.
This project was inspired by pioneering projects by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz like the “Satellite Art Project” (1975-77), as well as my lifelong enthusiasm for the proto-dadaist Alfred Jarry.
The performance occurred in the context of “Fusion ‘O1 :Time Travel” a collaborative event that took place between UCLA Design | Media Arts in Los Angeles (USA), the Bauhaus-Universität in Weimar (Germany) and the University of New South Wales in Sydney (Australia).
“Fusion ’01” actively explored the possibility offered by networking technologies applied to the web in creating emerging artistic spaces.
“Time Travel” was the common theme for the participating artists and it was meant to provoke considerations uponthe changing perception of the concepts of time and space in the era of the Internet and computer-mediated human communication.
CONCEPT The concept for the piece came to me as I was reading “How to create a time machine” by Alfred Jarry and started thinking about his concept of 'Pataphysic': The Science Of Imaginary Solutions'. I was inspired to try a playful but serious experiment about theatrical time. Key concepts of time in theater are usually those of sequentiallity and synchronism. Following these premises, “The Ubu Project” is an imaginative attempt to provide some answers to the following questions: What happens when we substitute the linear sequence of the wording into a spatial representation that simultaneously presents the reader with all the lines of the play?
Furthermore, what happens when we break the synchronism of the play and we perform on an asynchronous and recurring time adapting to delay and feedback looping effects of the live internet streaming?
How is this new asynchronous clock affecting the story of the play? How is it altering the meaning of the repertoire of coordinated actions that constitute the theatrical language?
UBU REX (UBU ROY)
The Ubu Projcet is based on the play Ubu Rex, a bizarre parody of Shakespeare's Macbeth that became a cornerstone of the Theatre of the Absurd movement. Written by Alfred Jarry, Ubu Rex was originally intended as a puppetry show and it narrates the story of Pa Ubu, an old man set on to conquer Poland by any means necessary, and the personification of the hideous side of humankind. When the play premiered at the Theatre de L'Oeuvre in 1896, it was met with both outrage and intrigue. The Ubu Project focuses only on the first scene of the first act of this theatrical piece.
1) The first part of the project consists of aweb3D virtual reality set designprogrammed in VRML. The first scene is the house of Pa Ubu and Ma Ubu where two virtual puppets welcome the viewer into their space. A little red door is the way to the second site in which the written text of the play is converted into space and is presented to the view all at once. At this point, each sentence of the dialog between Ma Ubu and Pa Ubu is aligned horizontally in front of the viewer. The viewer can virtually travel through the scene and experience the entire talking of the first scene simultaneously. Each written line of text has a sound of the correspondent spoken sentence, which is activated by a proximity sensor. He/she can also take a different path, a subjective way to unfold the text, altering its original sequence. This exploration is enhanced (and at the same time complicated) by the possibility of moving the text around. Every time a sentence is relocated is also multiplied by three. In addition, the behavior of the movement in the space does not always correspond to the trigger of the mouse, introducing a certain indetermination in the creation of the composition.
The idea behind this is to increase the complexity of the space, in order to weaken the user’s ability to keep the navigation path along the original sequence.
2) The second part of the project was performed in remote locations using video and audio streaming over the internet. Jim Merson, the actor playing Pa Ubu was in Los Angeles, while Franziska Heine who was play Ma Ubu was in Weimar, Germany. A series of big projections constituted the sets in both locations. In LA the actor was standing in front of a big projection of the 3D VR design explained above. A camera captured and streamed this image with sound to Germany, where it was projected again on a big screen to aloud the actress to stand side by side with the image of the actor with whom she was interacting. Simultaneously, a camera in Germany streamed this scene back to LAwhere it was projected right next to the first screen.
The time clock of this experiment is asynchronous because of the delay of streaming media over the Internet. The deferral for video and sound traveling across half the globe, is over 45 seconds, that means 1 minute and 30 seconds to go and come back. In addiction, cameras and microphones worked as mirroring devices, looping, bouncing, and echoing endlessly the information that they captured. Jim (Pa Ubu) started his acting and kept going without waiting for the Franzisca’s answer (Ma Ubu) to arrive. In the beginning, the timing was almost synchronized, and become increasingly chaotic with the progression of the performance as the looping effect added complexity to the scene.
Towards the end, the event assumed an oddly but vital schizophrenic mood, with anincreasing confusion casting out the performers in their isolated and relentless self-talking to the ever unreachable other.
Biologically Inspired Morphing Structure (BIMS)
Biomorphic kinetic sculpture.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. University of California, Los Angeles.
BIMS has been exhibited in the 2009 Shanghai International Science and Art Exhibition and won the Best Application Achievement Award.
BIMS aka Biologically Inspired Morphing Structures is a Trans-disciplinary inquiry, aiming to give physical and dynamic form to media as a physical behaving entity.
We challenge most existing robotic actuators that have non-flexible links and use only rotational or prismatic joints to achieve the limited degree of freedom. On the contrary, BIMS has a soft, formless and inflatable body made with a polymer that can morph to variable shapes. BIMS dynamically change its shape in response to the environment or human interaction.
Installation in the showering room of a disused mining complex in Slovenia.
The residency and exhibition was part of a plan to convert the landmark industrial complex into a cultural center for the city of Labin. It was the first event of what would become the rich programming of the Lamparna Art Center a Biennale of Industrial Art.
The different pavilions of the complex, still in their original state, were full of remnants of a history that shaped the identity of the city of Labin, linking the industrialization of the former soviet-backed Yugoslavia to the economics models embedded in the social ideologies the twenty-centuries.
I nested my installation in the lockers room, the space in which the miner would leave their intimate belonging before descending into the belly of the mine and to which they would return once resurfacing from their shift.
I built a collection using each locker as a container of fragments left behind. I gathered personal objects abandoned by the workers as well as industrial archaeological remains. With them, I built a “cabinet of wonders” as a tribute to the interwoven histories of the place. A foreign element seems to grow and find sedimentation between the elements in the cabinets. It points to the post-industrial shift of the forms, materials, and ideas of progress of advanced capitalism.
Tropical Puffs (...Or The Resilience of the Microstuff.)
Tropical Puffs (…Or The Resilience Of The Microstuff.)
According to Manuel De Landa, [A Thousand Year of Nonlinear History, 1997] “resilience” is the keyword to understand how complex meshworks of heterogeneous ecosystems overlap, coexist, and coevolve in the growth of the self-organizing city organism.
Resilience is the capacity of a system to absorb major internal and external fluctuations by switching between several alternative sustainable states, differing in this from the notion of stability which refer to the capacity of maintaining a preferred state inhibiting intense fluctuations.
This commissioned drawing series is a imaginative and poetic celebration of the resilience of multiple life forms, in particular non-human ecosystems, of Rio de Janeiro.
The stream of solar radiation, together with the water and humidity of the tropical climate of Rio de Janeiro, fuel the flow and exchange of biomass from one realm to another. They nurture via photosynthesis the sweet cravings of plants, which stand, with their non-parasitic nature at the foundation of any food chain.
The city of Rio possesses the first and second largest urban forests in the world. The human planted Tijuca Forest and the native Pedra Branca Park are home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife and provide protection to the city’s water supply. At the other end of the spectrum, equally important, are the microflora and microfauna, as they remineralize and reinject animal bodies into the web.
The project consists a collage of drawings, digital prints and projection of animated drawings, an imaginative immersion into the variety and vitality of the invisible organism that inhabit the city soil and water. Bacteria and fungi, algae and microscopic predators participate in the drama of the metropolis environment. In a city famous for its visual exuberance and beauty, this project will explore the beauty of invisible biology.
The design process of the piece investigate the notions of contamination, self-organization and interaction as the hand animated “micro-drawings” are later inscribed with a set of behaviors, computationally controlled, that originate an ever evolving narrative and pattern formation.
Metropolitan Museum of Art and Photography, Tokyo. Feb. 2004
Center for the Contemporary Art. Tallin, Estonia. Aug. 2004 ISEA 2004.
Venus Villosa is an interactive installation exploring the western myth of the Beast, and the underlying relationship to the ideas of primitiveness and sexuality that is represent. It is a comment about the unresolved ambivalence of our relationship towards nature as it concerns our body and our identity. The installation is articulated around three metaphors: the hair, the breast, and the sense of touch as a way to unfold the dichotomies of the beauty and the beast, the ideal and the material, the natural and the artificial.
The Venus Villosa installation consists of a low lit room, a table in the middle with a tray of squeezable glowing breasts, and a floor to ceiling projection of the lower torso of a woman, gently spinning in the dark. The background sound of a rainy forest is sprinkled with the unsettling gurgling of unidentified creatures. Visitors walk up to the table and find a sign that reads “SQUEEZE GENTLY.”
By means of a pneumatic mechanism connected to a computer, a series of behaviors are associated to the squeezing of each breast. In fact, by each breast triggers two behaviors: one is a distinctive sound [either a odd animal sound or a human voice sampled from beast related movies]; the other is the growth of beast-like hair on the torso of the hitherto beautiful woman.
By engaging in the usually forbidden activity of art [and breast] touching, the user turns the beauty into the beast. In contrast, by releasing his or her contact the beast goes back to beauty.
The notion of monstrosity has always been a source of inspiration for my artistic practice, on the level of both content and method. My fascination with this topic, especially as manifested in historical iconography, relies on its enigmatic and subversive power, and its potential for questioning categories and system of signification.
Venus Villosa is an interactive installation, combining physical haptic interfaces with digital animation and sound. In this project, I have being exploring representations of the Beast derived from traditional iconographic sources, relating them to the underling ideas of primitiveness and sexuality.
My intention is to reverse the ancestral divinatory properties assigned to the Monster, conceived as a messenger of the future. Instead, I will suggest an idea of monstrosity as an enigma of the past brought into the present. Focusing my attention on the connection between the Beast and the metaphor of the ‘primordial body’, I will emphasize our corporeal origins as the constant “other” of western rationalistic tradition. The atavistic heritage and the element of regression are explored and proposed as a way of questioning, by means of mirroring and reversal, the contemporary cultural appropriation of the future through the control and manipulation of nature.
Ultimately, my exploration of the figure of the Beast ironically unveils the “monster” encoded within us, embedded in our genetic evolution. The metaphor of growing bodily hair that I have chosen to illustrate this concept is the forbidden link to our original ancestors, retaining remnants of our proximity to other species, and referring to the genetic memory underlying all living creatures.
Venus Villosa, installation view.
Beast-like hair growth. Floor to ceiling projection.
Detail of the tactile interface.
Soft touchable interface.
Open interface table.
Wall projection, the metamorphosis of the body.
Viewers trigger the metamorphosis by touching the work
The fluid mechanism combining sensing the external touch and triggering the activation of the cinematic audio-visual response.
During the middle ages, in European silent monasteries, scribing monks gave shape to a multitude of imaginary beings through their miniatures and manuscripts . Documents and maps were populated with wonder creatures of ambiguous forms and impossible classification. This fantastic iconography would propagate from the confined imagination of monastic art into the vaste and lacerated Christianized Europe. In the pinnacles and cornices of cathedrals, monsters of all kinds would nest, enigmatic and frozen, guarding the mysteries of divinity.
Retaining the shapes of a forgotten pantheistic iconography these monsters became a fascinating embodiment of the world "outside", the far away lands, the lands of the unknown. The other side of an all-encompassing, yet ripped with slippery funnels christian narration of the medieval reality. Somewhere ungodly lands await. Mysterious demons and the puzzling creatures would both entice and caution the curious minds.