[ISEA2011] Panel Statement: Dew Har­ri­son – Bridg­ing worlds for en­hanced en­gage­ment

Panel Statement

Panel: Variable Reality – Inter-formalities in Digital/Analogue Arts

The vir­tual worlds of the new cen­tury are the play­grounds for artists to ex­plore space and time, the dig­i­tal ob­jects cre­ated here are ex­pe­ri­enced by avatar, with­out the full range of sen­sory per­cep­tions we use when con­fronting the real world. To ex­pe­ri­ence the vir­tual as a re­al­ity we need sen­sors con­nected to our phys­i­cal bod­ies or to solid ob­jects to sim­u­late real-world sen­sa­tions. In order to fur­ther en­gage view­ers as par­tic­i­pants in their work, con­tem­po­rary artists are ex­plor­ing ways of syn­the­siz­ing the ma­te­r­ial phys­i­cal real world with that of the vir­tual. This pre­sen­ta­tion will ex­plore one of the pro­jects cur­rently un­der­way at CADRE, Uni­ver­sity of Wolver­hamp­ton that ex­am­ple ways of pre­sent­ing the vir­tual as an al­ter­na­tive real. Shift-Life, is a vir­tual world of Dar­win­ian fan­tasy sweet-like crea­tures pro­jected into a sand-pit box which re­spond to the phys­i­cal ac­tions of vis­i­tors caus­ing real-time up­heavals in their en­vi­ron­ment. Through di­rectly pour­ing liq­uids, ham­mer­ing and ad­just­ing lights, when in­ter­act­ing with this hands-on in­stal­la­tion, the real world en­croaches upon the vir­tual caus­ing a life-and-death strug­gle to an ar­ti­fi­cial life form. This pro­ject was di­rectly in­flu­enced by ear­lier works con­cern­ing Mar­cel Duchamp’s Large Glass, where crea­ture-like be­hav­iors were given to Duchampian ob­jects to am­plify their fa­mil­ial re­la­tions.

  • Dew Har­ri­son is a Pro­fes­sor of Dig­i­tal Media Art and Di­rec­tor of CADRE, the Cen­tre for Art and De­sign Re­search And Ex­per­i­men­ta­tion at the Uni­ver­sity of Wolver­hamp­ton, UK, where she works as the As­so­ci­ate Dean for Re­search and Post­grad­u­ate Stud­ies in the School of Art and De­sign.  As a prac­tis­ing artist with a PhD from CAIIA (Cen­tre for Ad­vanced In­quiry in the In­ter­ac­tive Arts), her work con­tin­ues to ex­plore a the­o­ret­i­cally in­formed com­puter-me­di­ated ap­proach to the ter­ri­tory be­tween art, tech­nol­ogy and con­scious­ness stud­ies in order to po­si­tion a par­tic­i­pa­tory con­cept-based art prac­tice. This in­volves se­man­ti­cally as­so­ci­at­ing ideas and con­cepts into non-lin­ear mul­ti­me­dia form and dig­i­tal out­comes have been shown both in the UK and in­ter­na­tion­ally.  She con­sid­ers the di­a­logue be­tween the vir­tual (dig­i­tal) realm and the real world, as a se­man­tic space for cre­ative ex­plo­ration.  With over 50 pub­li­ca­tions to date, she is reg­u­larly in­vited to pre­sent at con­fer­ences con­cern­ing Con­scious­ness Stud­ies, Cu­ra­tion and Archiv­ing, Dig­i­tal Art, Art His­tory, In­ter­ac­tive Gam­ing, and Muse­ol­ogy. Her prac­tice is often col­lab­o­ra­tive as ex­am­pled in her most re­cent in­stal­la­tion work ‘Shift-Life’ where she worked with two pro­gram­mers and an an­i­ma­tor. This piece was com­mis­sioned by Shrews­bury Mu­seum Ser­vices for the In­ter­na­tional Dar­win Bi­cen­te­nary, and funded by Arts Coun­cil Eng­land.        pva.org.uk                  wlv.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/cadre—centre-for-art-design-research-and-expe/