A man exits the gilded Chemical Bank Automated Teller Machine at 14 Wall Street in Manhattan. He is dressed in an Armani shirt, Fendi tie, Body Glove surfing trunks, and Leader swimming cap and goggles. A head-mounted microphone, which is connected to a cellular telephone in his pocket, sometimes completes his ensemble. He’s on Rollerblades that are equipped with 80 millimeter 78 and 81 A Hyper Shock wheels. He executes military maneuvers with a metal sabre while he skates his way to another ATM.
This is science fiction this is not. This Hyperformer rollersurfs the terrain of the city, weaving his way through taxis, heating grates, trucks, oil splotches, busses, cigarette butts, pedestrians, and other surfactants. He surfs from one ATM to the next, and the next, and the next. At each machine he uses his card to check his balance. He then collects his receipts. As he leaves each ATM, he calls his personal answering machine via the cellular phone while the head-mounted
mike records the rhythm of his breathing patterns as he makes his way to the next ATM. He hangs up before he checks his balance. After he has completed his performances, he makes fragmented digital maps of where he’s been, which are then uploaded onto America Online. The Hyperformer is an investigative tool with which to unpack various meanings that circulate through culture. He seeks to forge and maintain a variety of connections, exploring the always-intermediate interconnectedness that increasingly characterizes our experience. He attempts to interpret and filter a variety of issues, including: the alchemical aspect of interacting with an ATM; the use of swimming and surfing metaphors in the context of information technologies; and the dispersion of identity; among others. The outgrowth of these links is a hybrid organism coupled with a hybrid analysis, the combination of which works toward developing navigational tools for the emerging cultural spaces of information.
- Jeffrey Schultz is an artist and writer. His work has been shown at The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and he will have a show at TZ’Art & Co. in New York this fall. He has presented his work at the Fourth International Conference on Cyberspace, and the 1993 College Art Association Annual Conference. His writing has appeared in Leonardo; Machine Culture, the SIGGRAPH ’93 Art Show catalogue; and Critical Matrix. He is currently writing a book titled “It’s a Virtual Life: Information Technologies and the Flickering Fabric of Social Relations”.