interactive intermedia installation
ceiling-mounted projector, computer, webcam, custom software, stereo/surround sound
duration: infinite loop
documentation (version 1.0): 1’38
documentation (version 2.0): 3’25
Marlena Novak – visuals
Jay Alan Yim – sound design
Ian Horswill – meta programming
pr!ck is part of a series of pieces (collectively titled …verge upon verge…) that deal with boundary issues on scales that range from the microscopic to the geopolitical. It is an interactive installation that explores the membrane of selfhood, and gender identity. The audio and video are altered in real time, depending on how the computer system sees and interprets the motion of the viewer.
More specifically, the inspiration is the unusual mating behavior of hermaphroditic Australian marine flatworms. Each creature is both male and female, and each has two penises. But since they have no female receptacle, in order to mate, one has to pierce the body of the other with one of its phallic organs. So in reality, the courtship dance is a duel.
Although the spherical synthetic creatures in our piece are not intended to resemble the real flatworms, using this behavior as a model sharply (!) brings to the foreground issues relating to dominance and conflict resolution. The transitory nature of political/military power is presented in a way that is simultaneously abstract and dramatized. Polarities are represented in dynamic flux: male/female, passion/rationality, etcetera.
The software models behaviors such as changing levels of energy or fatigue, and aggressiveness. The two creatures change color when one is penetrated by the other, at the moment of insemination (e.g., when the red one injects its sperm into the blue one, the latter turns purple, or even completely red). The sound design reinforces these events, drawing from a reservoir of sound modules algorithmically selected within appropriate categories, while also generating a continuously-modulated sonic environment for their habitat. As the duel continues, the creatures become progressively distorted, so their appearance is transformed from perfect spheres to battle-scarred gladiators.
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