[ISEA94] Paper: Stahl Stenslie – Liquid Selves, Schizoid Bodies


This presentative will explore aspects of visual personality design in virtual environments. It will also examine “non-linear”, liquid” aspects of designer personalities.

To have a visual and virtual personality representing oneself will soon be common within cyberspaces. The ability of presenting oneself visually to others in networked communication poses new challenges of personality design. Looks, abilities and the nature of bodies can in cyberspace be subject to constant change. In ‘real’ life we act differently according to the
different situations without changing our visual appearance much. In cyberspace appearance and behavior can relate to each other in ways not experiential in real life. Virtual stand-ins will change the perception of ourselves in ethical, aesthetical, cultural, sociological and political ways.
The field of virtual reality has created ways to re-design the body, both through images and text. The disturbing possibility to change the re-presentation of oneself in (almost) real time will be familiar to those who have visited MUDs. The new virtual body is no longer the static, modernist kind of body, but a floating, changing and creative kind of framework. The fluid features of such a body-framework is found in it’s (potentially) open ended, constantly changing
and mutating qualities. The fabric of cyberspace allows primarily for fantastic experiences to take place.
Rather than trying to duplicate “reality”, as is the most common design of virtual environments today, future environment designs will take advantage of the hallucinative potentials of cyberspace. As an artists playground, virtual space allows for the design of extreme environments and fringe experiences. Perception through a schizoid body in cyberspace makes all the more sense.

  • Stahl Stenslie Norwegian artist, born 1965. Studied in Oslo Art Academy, Düsseldorf, Cologne (both Germany). Exhibited art works since 1985. In the 90’s worked on several
    computer related art projects.