BODY - HOARDER
Medium: Virtual Reality with video performance in public space
Date: Winter 2020
Body-Hoarder is a VR program that explores surveillance systems as relentless hoarders that steal, store, and alienate our bodies through information processing. The project takes the viewer inside the black box of a security system, and critically interprets its inner mechanisms. Viewers experience the excessive amassment of information, solidification of the temporal and minute, and omniscient inspection over a social district and human activities. Through the 3D reconstruction, I contemplate the multi-reality of my body, existing in different qualities and multiple versions in alternative spaces. By positioning my body in both real and virtual worlds, I explore its trans-corporeal nature, existing as corporeal matter and incorporeal content of data, and the consequent alienating effects on the same body and its different forms.
The project speculates how the body is translated into data, through a visual reconstruction of monitoring and recording operations of surveillance. Large screens inside a vault-like space play videos of myself walking through downtown Calgary. My movements are tracked and replicated in virtual models. Each model imitates the state of my body at a particular moment. Like sculptures, they freeze every gesture and posture. These digital figurines are mapped throughout the space in circular motions and placed into a rotunda formation. This emulates the spinning movements and cylinder structure of a hard drive disk and mimics the way information is stored inside a computer.
An overwhelming number of virtual bodies accumulate inside the black box. Different versions of the same body are constructed and collected in extreme quantities. Through multiple virtual copies, my body is extended beyond its physical composite into unrecognizable and unknown forms of computation. It dwells in unfamiliar and alien spaces of databases and hard drives of security systems and institutions. Viewers observe my body in the city streets and the digital sphere. Through the contrasting qualities of the two bodily forms, the project contemplates how different versions of the same body can become foreign to and alienated from one another.
Everyday, I am extended in a million different ways by cameras all over the city. As they scan my body into digital form, I come to exist in the digital space of someone else’s computer. My multiplied existence become the property of strangers and institutions. Extensions of my body are locked away in their private depositories and are inaccessible to me. The project thinks through Stacy Alamo's Transcorporeality in the context of surveillance, and questions how surveiling technologies alienate us from our own bodies.
Alaimo, S. (n.d.). [online] Stacyalaimo.com. Available at: http://www.stacyalaimo.com/single-post/2019/07/30/Transcorporeality-Exhibit-at-Museum-Ludwig-Cologne-92019-12020.