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January 17, 2007

Nathaniel Stern


In and Around: the Implicit Body as Performance

"Theorists and producers of the "mixed reality" movement within interactive art argue that inviting action and enactment, rather than producing illusion and simulacrum, creates more immersive spaces. Mark Hansen’s concept of the "body-in-code," for example, reads the sensorimotor body here as an "activity" and a "being-with," where the body is "distributed beyond the skin in the context of contemporary technics."

Others, such as Brenda Laurel and Chris Salter, have sought to re-think critical histories of digital practice in order to locate interactive and digital art more precisely in the theatrical or performance realms.

My research contends that in such spaces, it is the body, itself, which is performed. A body in space can "act" as a site of emergence, a boundary project, and an incipience. While Rebecca Schneider’s "explicit body" in feminist performance art performatively unfolds (Latin: explicare) and explicates, the implicit body concordantly enfolds (Latin: implicare) and implies. Inter-action is both constitutive of, and always already involved in, the space of the body as relational. Like an animated moebius strip, the body is: in and around.

This paper attempts to think through digital art as a proscenium for, and framer of, the implicit body. I’m not necessarily interested in work or environments that are more illusory or more immersive, but that, rather, ask us to move in ways we normally wouldn’t, pushing the boundaries of performativity and affect. Like space itself, bodiliness is "susceptible to folding, division and reshaping… open to continual negotiation" (K Kirby). By setting the stage, interactive artists-as-directors create productive tensions between the per-formed and the pre-formed, shifting our experiences of "body". At stake, are potential strategies for intervention in our understandings of enfleshment, art that contextualizes embodiment towards specific ends." In and Around: the Implicit Body as Performance by nathaniel stern [blogged by nathaniel on nathaniel & the non-aggressive]

Posted by jo at January 17, 2007 03:54 PM