[ISEA2015] Artist Statement: Judith Doyle – PHANTOM HOUSE

Artist Statement

Memory architecture with hand-drawn and streaming media textures, built in the SecondLife virtual world by artist Judith Doyle, with technical
assistance from Ian Murray (2010)

Phantom House eerily hovers in space. A glowing, ghostly testament to Judith Doyle’s late parents, it is a memory architecture constructed in SecondLife virtual world. After the sudden death of the artists’ mother and father in 2003, Doyle built models of her family home in game engines and virtual environments. Needless to say, this work embodies a response analogous to the experience of phantasmagoria, magic-lantern performances emerging in the 1790s and early 1800s wherein the technological origins of animated spectral images were concealed from an audience kept in total darkness for extended periods of time prior to any performance. With its phantasmagoric quality, Phantom House sits between many worlds; 19th century spectral theatre versus 21st century online interaction; first life versus SecondLife; present versus absent bodies. Embedded within a 1950s tableau at the Museum of Vancouver this virtual representation captures the temporal distances inferred by a suburban home floating in in the nocturnal upper atmosphere of SecondLife. Doyle has referred to this work as an architecture of forgetting but the luminous lines of the dwelling, and its glowing scaffold, suggest anything but. As the building slowly revolves it becomes a monument of light, a heartrending memento mori to Doyle’s loss.

  • Judith Doyle’s work includes performance, film, publication and media installation. In 1978 she co-founded the seminal artists teleculture network Worldpool active in Toronto and New York, using fax and slow-scan video for proto-Internet exchange and collaboration. Her films and media projects show internationally. Active at Funnel Experimental Film Centre, A Space, Art Metropole and Impulse Magazine, Judith is currently a Professor in Integrated Media in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University. She is the 2015 Artist in Residence at the Telus Toronto Innovation Centre. GestureCloud is the name of her collaborative formation with Beijing-based artist Fei Jun.

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