The Virtual Body is at once a scientific instrument, an aesthetic object, and a postmodern magic box. It simulates the rococo salon in miniature and extends the rococo intoxication and upheaval of the senses into the new technological condition. The solumn sitting in the room with its pulsing, vibrating, glowing box beckons the viewer to peer into the top, only to be met by his or her own eye peering back through the ceiling. The gradual shift from ceiling to tracking floor collapses the space, causing the spectators to fall into, travel within, and lose themselves inside the phenomenon. With this magic box there is an erasure of physicality, as if not only the room has collapsed, but also our knowledge of the body within space. This twist engages and traps the spectator who becomes at once spectator/object, participant/subject, creating an intense and new aesthetic site.
- Catherine Richards Media artist. Her work explores the permeable boundary between fiction and science and investigates the body and the self as the site for new technology. She was awarded the Canada Council of the Arts’ Petro-Canada biennal award for Media Arts, 1993, for her innovative use of new technologies in media arts in particular her virtual reality project Spectral Bodies. She was responsible for initiating and co-directing the Bioapparatus, an artists’ residency on the subject of art and intimacy of the body with new technologies, at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada. In 1992 the Bioapparatus won the Canadian Conference of the Arts’ Korel Prize for innovative projects in arts and new technologies.