A dancer, absorbed in her thoughts and her movements, explores the space. She is just getting to know herself anew, distanced from the perceivers through VR glasses. Not only visible here, in the analog exhibition space, but simultaneously happening in a digital world. She was deconstructed, reborn as a 3D Avatar. Her journey is projected to the walls, the used technology in the room refers as a material proof of this process. transreal, a collaboration project between the contemporary dancer Hannah Wimmer and the transmedia artist Maximilian Prag was born out of the artists´ desire to explore how movement and self-experience can be translated into a virtual environment. The costume by Anna Schall creates an interskin between the performer and Avatar and extends the motion capture technology, allowing for an in-depth exploration of the body and how it moves and interacts with both physical and virtual spaces. The sound set provided by MARAws accompanies the performance and embodies and aestheticizes the performative relations.
The artists` investigations of how the physical and virtual can co-exist simultaneously include ideas of author Legacy Russel. Her Manifesto Glitch Feminism is a key element of this performance, encouraging audiences to break down traditional ideas of gender and identity through the glitch (1) and explore how these concepts can be deconstructed and reimagined. By using the ‚body‘, we give material form to what has no form, an abstract assemblage. Taking advantage of both the real and virtual worlds, the contemporary self-body incorporates virtuality and transforms it into another manifestation. The title, heralded as “transreal” a term created by Micha Cárdenas, is to describe the virtual in this exchange between realities (2). Through the virtual, we have the freedom to alter ourselves, becoming a “complex new expression of prosthetic reembodiment through which our physical bodies and subjectivities extend themselves into the virtual terrain.” as Legacy Russel states. It is a fragmented self-body that is born as a virtual artifact, but becomes tangible as physicality and perception. In their performance, the dancer glitched in both her virtual and physical self and was encoded in new life while being complexified through 3D Scanning techniques. Computers and devices become our invisible second selves, an extension to define our personal and cultural identity. We are asking ourselves the increasingly conscious question of how the Internet affects our current notions of identity and can grow beyond binaries and structures, becoming visible in our transreality. In the digital worlds, parallel identities can co-exist and we can recreate our personality parts as whole entities. Our identity becomes refracted and newly perceptible in the blurred transitions between the digital and physical. Although the performance is rooted in digital art practices, it differs from their traditional form in its complexity and interactivity. Unlike digital art that is often experienced solely through a screen, this performance allows us to perceive a live process, creating an immersive experience that blurs the boundaries of reality and sketching us a new interpretation of what bodies within a space can be. ____
“A Glitch is an error, a mistake, a failure to function. Within technoloculture, a glitch is part of machinic anxiety, an indicator of something gone wrong. […] Within glitch feminism, we look at the notion of glitch-as-error with its genesis in the realm of the machinic and the digital and consider how it can be reapplied to inform the way we see the AFK world, shaping how we might participate in it toward greater agency for and by ourselves.”
Legacy Russel, Glitch Feminism. A Manifesto, London/New York 2020, p.8-9.
“The Transreal explores the use of multiple simultaneous realities as a medium in contemporary art, including mixed reality, augmented reality and alternate reality approaches. Building on the notion of „trans“ from transgender, signifying the crossing of boundaries, the author proposes that transreal aesthetics cross the boundaries created by a proliferation of conceptions of reality that occurred as a result of postmodern theory and emerging technologies.”
Micha Cárdenas, The Transreal Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities, Dresden/New York, 2012.
Text: Josepha Edbauer
Video Documentation: Felix Lenz
Editing: Maximilian Prag