Panel: Queer Viralities: Resistant Practices in New Media Art & Philosophy
Due to recent viral outbreaks, protective latex barriers must be worn at all times.
Skin to skin contact may result in viral contamination.
Failure to comply will result in a minimum of 10 years in a federal penitentiary.
Touching, and illness, are prohibited by law.
The virus must be contained.
virus.circus follows the viral as a transversal line of inquiry that intersects with the militarization of medical authority, microscopic transnational migrations and global economic inequality. Consisting of an episodic series of performances using wearable electronics, soft sensors and live audio to bridge virtual and physical spaces, the performances explore queer futures of latex sexuality and DIY medicine amidst a speculative world of virus hysteria. The history of queer politics shows that the rhetoric of viruses such as HIV are used to control marginalized populations, while viruses such as H1N1 reproduce these structures of power. virus.circus asks how erotic affect can be a form of resistance to western medicine. Across episodes including virus.circus.touch, virus.circus.breath and virus.circus.probe, Mehrmand and Cárdenas have developed open source hardware and software to facilitate new forms of erotic expression. New possibilities of embodied knowledge unfold through the sonification and visualization of biometric data including heart rate and R-R intervals, as well as data from an ultrasonic rangefinder bra, a pressure sensing choking collar, touch sensitive dress and a motion sensitive glove that controls a strap-on vibrator. Wearable electronic garments allow the performers to experiment with transreal embodiment, extending their physical bodies sonically and virtually. virus.?circus attempts to immerse the audience/participants in an alternate reality by creating a slippage of perception. Code switching between mixed and alternate reality, virus.?circus asks how we can use reality as a medium, resonating across a number of modes including public space interventions, performances in museums and galleries, and networked performances.
- Elle Mehrmand is a performance/new media artist and musician who uses the body, electronics, video, sound and installation within her work. She is the singer and trombone player of Assembly of Mazes, a music collective who creates dark, electronic, middle eastern, rhythmic jazz rock. Elle is currently an MFA candidate at UCSD, and received her BFA in art photography with a minor in music at CSULB. She will teach “Electronics for Art” at UCSD in Winter 2012. Elle is a part of the Electronic Disturbance Theatre 2.0 and the b.a.n.g. Lab, and she is a researcher at CRCA (Center for Research and Computing in the Arts) at UCSD. Her work has been shown at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), Highways Performance Space, Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), UCLA Freud Playhouse, CECUT, the Nevada Museum of Art, and the Gallery of the National College of Art and Design. Her performances have been shown in Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Tijuana, Montreal, Dublin, Istanbul and Bogotá. Her work has been discussed in Art21, the LA Times, Juxtapoz Magazine, Networked Performance, the OC Weekly, Furtherfield.?org, the CityBeat and VICE magazine.
- Micha Cárdenas is an artist/theorist whose transreal work mixes physical and networked spaces in order to explore emerging forms of queer relationality, biopolitics and DIY horizontal knowledge production. She will be starting her PhD study at University of Southern California’s Media Arts and Practice PhD program in Fall 2011 and is currently the Interim Associate Director of Art and Technology for UCSD’s Sixth College in the Culture, Art and Technology program. She was previously a lecturer in the Visual Arts department and Critical Gender Studies program at UCSD. She is an artist/researcher with the UCSD School of Medicine, CRCA and the b.a.n.g. lab at Calit2. Her recent publications include Trans Desire/Affective Cyborgs, with Barbara Fornssler, from Atropos Press, “I am Transreal”, in Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation from Seal Press and “Becoming Dragon: A Transversal Technology Study” in Code Drift from CTheory. Her collaboration with Elle Mehrmand, “Mixed Relations,” was the recipient of the UCIRA Emerging Fields Award for 2009. She has exhibited and performed in biennials, museums and galleries in cities around the world including Los Angeles, Tijuana, New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Alexandria, Egypt, Bogota, Colombia, Malaga, Spain, Saas-Fee, Switzerland and Dublin, Ireland. Her work has been written about in publications including Art21, the Associated Press, the LA Times, CNN, BBC World and Wired.