Dehumanizing the Human Body

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Paul Vanouse’s Items 1-2000: Dehumanizing the Human Body (1996)

A former pre-med student and artist, Vanouse created this piece with both a purpose and to be ironic. A primary purpose of this was to be able to re-create the dissection of a human body by pulling from 40GB of data from scanning the barcodes from different positions. The barcodes and scanner are set up to replicate the movements of a scalpel to further the realism. This became the closest thing in terms of obtaining information to dissecting a human body without actually having to do so.

The piece is also ironic in its focus on ethics and the separation of humans in science. The use of barcodes as labels helps to separate the realism of the human body and ethics to a documentation of body parts and data. The visual being depicted heavily with data resembles the connection between people and just being another number, or in this case a list of body parts.

The cadaver is actually a convict whose body was donated to science, but used as art instead of the organs being donated to people in a hospital. This strikes heavy on the emphasis of ethics in this piece which for the artist was part of the reason he didn’t go into medicine as a career path. The body is still used in a practical manner besides art as a way to replicate human dissection using a combination of computers screens, data, and the body’s presence itself.

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Dehumanizing the Human Body

CAD and CAM sculpture prototyping

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Dan Collins’ Twister (2003)

The work is created by a set of data collected by a full body laser scanner. This scan allows data to be collected from an artists body from every angle in order to create very accurate 3d models.

The work was created to bridge the gap between the real-physical world and virtual space in two ways. Firstly the sculpture was created from a set of data, which resembles this connection. The idea of making a sculpture to resemble a person also helps to bridge the gap between the tangible and computers because the idea of creating a person brings a level of reality to the sculpture.

Combining the notion of data manipulation adds to this piece. The data points could be skewed and altered in order to create the effect of twisting shown in the piece. This play of data manipulation puts emphasis on the digital aspect of the piece as a result of the contrasting heavily accurately created legs of the sculpture.

CAD and CAM sculpture prototyping

Challanges of Digital preservation

Roberta Friedman and Grahame Weinbren, The Erl King (1982-5)

A combination of Sigmund Freud psychoanalitics and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poetry, this interactive video loads graphics, text, video, and audio files in order to create a narrative cinema. The idea of a dream becoming showable or physically interactive through intervention makes up this piece. The art was actually re-created with new technology and used a VM emulator in order to replicate the lag timings and code processing which the original artist created it.

The importance of the re-creation of art being identical to the original piece is that even subtle changes can create drastic interpretive effects. So in order to maintain the same meaning and feel of the artwork the delay in coding execution and periods of lag must be replicated exactly.

Challanges of Digital preservation

Living Interfaces

Interactive Plant Growing (1993) Laurent Mignonneau and Christa Sommerer

This piece was created to make a link between the physical real world of Biology and living plants to the digital world. As the plants are touched it causes a difference in the electrical potentials of the plants, picked up by a computer that difference was coded to cause the digital plants to grow at different speeds.

The natural interface mixing with the digital is what makes this work stand out. The combination of a living environment to electronics creates a completely different meaning. The ability to combine actual life with the digital world has created ethical ramifications as a result of bio-engineering. This piece in particular avoids that harm, but reveals the similar feeling of an unnatural thing in a living world.

Living Interfaces

Nam June Paik Laser Cone (2001)

One of the first artists to use lasers, the artwork consisted of a large-scale immersive art form. The lasers have a heightened intensity because the viewer Is actually looking up into the light show which practically surrounds them.

It’s a physical platform, however is however surrounds viewers with a digital form of art.
Laser is an acronym for ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation’ which shows the reflection from this digital art to simulate radiation from lasers and what it may look like.

Broader ideas we can take away from this piece relate to the different forms that technology can be shown. It expresses the unique perspective of the invention of the laser by bell labs.

The artwork created will ultimately effect technology based science as a creative way to express invention, and to artists by setting a new brick for the road connecting digital art and analogue.

Nam June Paik Laser Cone (2001)