This project uses a virtual space to implement a re-examination of the body, or what I am calling “grossing the body.”  The idea being that there are so many ingrained cultural norms about our own bodies created thru media, fashion and politics that we are able to forget that our bodies are organic things.  

Fashion and clothing must be challenged.  We have allowed clothing to segment our bodies.  My neck is not a separate thing from my shoulders but the collar of my shirt makes it so, just as the waist of my pants separates my stomach from my pelvis and the line of my underwear separates my ‘clean body’ from my ‘dirty body.’ We have allowed these concepts to change how we think about our body to such a degree that I have to remind myself that my feet are part of the same body as my head, just because of my shoes.  We organize our bodies into a series of easily dealt with shapes and colors thru tools like plaids and stripes or the cut of a blouse all to mask the fact that we are organic, biological and ‘gross.’  In this way we do not have to deal with ourselves as fleshy sacks or blood, tissue and mucus; we can be ‘punk,’ ‘business,’ ‘hippie,’ ‘dressed down,’ ‘dressed up’ or any other identity we can manifest to hide that our bodies, if turned inside out, would disgust our cultural aesthetic.  

The media creates icons out of people.  We do not see these ‘social elites,’ the who’s that we call celebrities, as being the same as us and so do not entirely think of them as human.  This allows them to be only the image we see in the media.  They seem spared from being organic, like our media has given these select few a one-way pass out of humanity and out of grossville.

Our rights and personal space delude us into thinking that there is a barrier.  We are taught that we have dominion of our bodies.  We control when and where they are; no one can harm them without punishment, food manufactures have to tell us everything that their product puts into us and our ‘rights’ offer this total protection.  This allows us a fantasy notion of our bodies as impenetrable fortresses rather than organic things.

Giving people the ability the tear into something that at least looks like a body, that has organs as organic as the reader’s and bleeds just like the reader does, would ‘gross’ the human body and remind people that they are organic.  

I think the piece has obvious similarities to the art of Orlan.  Both premise a ‘carnal’ art.  And both have similar themes of surgery and reconceptualizing the body.  Both in some way include recreating an aesthetic.  Orlan works in defiance of ‘what is beauty?’ while this project seek to break the normal bounds of ‘what are our bodies? Do we still think they are beautiful, when we cannot escape their organic, gross nature?’ Obvious differences include the fact that Orlan is actually having these surgeries while mine offers a virtual space.  This is an example where virtual space is necessary; there is a shortage of celebrities wiling to be chopped up in the name of art.

You can use a wide variety of tools and instruments.  Conduct a series of stranger experiments, perform an endless variety of unnecessary surgical procedures or just start hacking.  It’s up to you.

I had an opportunity to visit NASA and take a look that the Virtual Glove Box.  See!

The Virtual Glove Box creates the 3D Image by using a stereoscopic projector system.  The reader wears special glasses and sees a 3D image.  The reader interacts with the environment by wearing gloves with magnetic tracers that are located beneath the display.  Curt Johanson, an assistant researcher at the Ames Research Center, says that the system allows you to “pick up test tubes, use a virtual microscope, scalpel, etc.”

When addressing the issue of how to create the 3D models I looked at using an MRI scan.
Curt says that  “The next step [for the Glove Box] would be to generate a system that could scan in an object or organism continuously using something like MRI, then create an accurate living 3d model that corresponds almost exactly to the living counterpart, and that technology is just not good enough. Current MRI and scanning equipment is not that precise.”  This is where the ‘future technology’ part comes in.  This art piece is dependent on the making an accurate and perfectly life like in order to convey “organicness.’  I’m fiating that an MRI scan can identify accurately enough times of tissues and that a computer program can fill in the areas identified by the scan with a live like mock up of the tissues that would allow an internal view of the models organs that is at least accurate to the persons shape and volume.  [This is why I changed the project from operating on yourself to operating on celebrities. It’s just not feasible any other way.  MRI’s require a lot of equipment and perpetration.  You can’t just do one on the spot.  It seems like too much a leap to say that each person will be able to conveniently create a 3d model of themselves.]

Info on MRI's here.