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
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,
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.