Art has many functions. I believe that one of the most important is its role as a cultural
sentinel. I am drawn to those aspects of art that try to sense nascent trends, forecast future
developments and expose unrecognized aspects of dominant paradigms. I am drawn to
iconoclasm and heterodoxy. A non-stagnant culture desperately needs volunteers to patrol
its frontiers, move against convention, and share what they discover in compelling ways.
I am a refugee to the arts. Although I worked with experimental underground film as an
undergraduate I went on to get a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary social sciences from the
University of Chicago. I worked for 10 years as a professor, researcher and action
anthropologist trying to improve public schools. At the end of that time I came to feel that
ironically the most profound cultural change may come not from frontal political or
academic assault but rather more subtly from changes in consciousness wrought by the arts
and media. I went back to my first love and got an MFA from the School of the Art
Institute. I gravitated to areas of the arts that searched out zones of cultural foment and that
were willing to invent new forms and art contexts.
Guests, Parasites and Symbionts, is an interactive art and biology installation in which
visitors will engage with live organisms derived from their own bodies and from those
of other participants. Using the techniques of biology and medicine, the installation
proposes to make visible these organisms and to create an engaging and provocative
media environment for the interaction. It is based on what I already did in Protozoa
Games. In this new version visitors will make physical contact with some device that
will acquire their organisms. It then will provide for immersive sound, video, and
animation events in which the flow of events are controlled by the interactions of the
visitor's movements and gestures in the space (read by motion tracking technology)
and the movements of the single cell organisms that are part of their body as made
visible by a digital microscope. A projection screen will project their microorganisms
situated as part of interactive digital animations and video created in Director. Another
version of the installation will allow multiple visitors to engage with each other and
each other's organisms and another version will let web visitors engage the protozoa.
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