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Cube Culture: Bodymaps

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By Thecla Schiphorst

Bodymaps: artifacts of touch is a computer interactive sound and video installation exhibited at the Western front gallery in Vancouver, April '96, Ars electronica in Linz Austria from September 2nd to 23rd l996, and at Interaction '97 in Ogaki-City Japan March '97. The piece uses a specially designed sensor surface, embedded with 15 Electromagnetic Field Sensors (Reach) which operate very much like 15 theremins, and 8 Force Sensing Resistor Sensors (Touch) which can detect touch, pressure and the amount of force applied to the surface. All sensors are interfaced using the I-CubeX.

Together these sensors lie beneath a white velvet surface upon which is projected images of the artist's body. The surface yearns for contact and touch. Its rule base is complex and subtle, impossible to decode. Its effect is disturbing, erotic, sensual and subjective.

The intention of the work is to subvert the visual/objective relationship between the object and the eye, between click and drag, between analysis and power, to create a relationship between participant and technology that transgresses rules of ownership and objectivity and begs questions of experience, power, and being.

The piece and interface was designed by Thecla Schiphorst, researched and engineered by Infusion systems, programmed by Ken Gregory and Grant Gregson, and constructed by Hanif Jan Mohamed and Ewen McNeil.


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