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sentient circuitry : carnevale
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Reva Stone's Carnevale
Description, Bio, Ideas

Robot Description
by Reva Stone

Carnevale (without flesh). A life-sized, double aluminum cutout (a surrogate of Reva Stone as a young girl) moves through the gallery space on a robotic platform. Sandwiched between these two identical cutouts are a small video camera and a small video projector. As visitors enter the gallery space, the figure interacts with them by turning and moving toward them. At random intervals, their images and movement are captured. These images are combined and overlaid with previously stored images and then projected outward from the robot's metal body through the video projector. After several playbacks the computer either adds the new video to its memory or discards it. When alone in the gallery space, the figure randomly retrieves images from its data bank, combines and overlays them, and projects them into the exhibition space. Carnevale (without flesh) carries images from each of its venues to the next, building a database of lived experience in which the captured video images become memories of original events.

As a mediator of experience, this fleshless entity has the ability to exhibit human behaviour by generating responsive movements, processing information, and accessing memory. Recollection, physicality, and sentience become mutable entities.

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Artist Bio
by HorizonZero Editors
Reva Stone is an independent media artist from Manitoba. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba School of Art, and has been working with visual art, video projection, and computer-integrated interactive installations since 1987.

Stone's art almost always reflects her long-standing interest in the relationship between technology and the body. Her work explores the increasingly seamless integration of the technological into our lives, and the way in which they are reshaped by this invisible presence.

For example, Stone's sentientBody (La Chambre Blanche, Québec City, 1998) featured interactive video displays whose gradually decaying reproductions of the viewer's own image explored the malleability of the human body in an age of ubiquitous medical interventions. Other solo installations tackling related themes have included veridicalBody (1998) and Interstitial Spaces (1995-97).

Collaborative projects have also been a priority for Stone. These have included interactive installations such as no one ... in conversation (with Richard Dyck, 1994), and skin notwithstanding (with Richard Dyck, 1997). Stone also co-curated The Multiple and Mutable Subject (1999), a symposium on the post-modern subject and the Internet, with Vera Lemecha and Winnipeg's St. Norbert Cultural Centre (1999).

Recently, Stone has been working on Imaginal Expression (in-progress), a co-production with the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts. This will be a three-dimensional gallery installation that will allow for simultaneous interactions between online viewers and visitors in the actual gallery space. The work will incorporate Stone's recent investigations into the three-dimensional virtual modelling of protein molecules (the basic building blocks of all biological life). Stone textures her models with bodily tissues and other visible manifestations, such as skin, hair, and scar tissue. By addressing these extreme visual abstractions via an interactive exhibit, Stone hopes to reincorporate lived experiences into discourses surrounding biotechnology and virtuality.

Reva Stone's first excursions into robotic art were Carnevale 1.0 (presented in 2000 at The Photographer's Gallery, Saskatoon) and Carnevale 2.0 (presented in 2001 as part of the "Metamorphoses et Clonage" exhibit, Musée d'art contemporain, Montréal). These were schematic self-portraits in fembot form that explored the contrasts between organic and externalized memory, the body and the digital archive.

Detailed presentations of many of Reva Stone's art works, robotic and otherwise, as well as a list of further readings, are available on her Web site. Internauts curious about the artist's plan to send Carnevale 3.0 to Mars should visit The Mars Patent.

Source: Riva Stone's website

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Artist's Ideas
by Reva Stone
We are interfaced with machines. They have woven themselves into our everyday lives until they have become nearly invisible. Human/machine couplings such as neural implants, prosthetic devices, genetic engineering, organ transplants, biocomputers, artificial life programs, and highly interactive virtual reality technologies are restructuring our concepts of the self. These technologies are peculiarly intimate, in that our own bodies are the materials upon which they operate. Distinctions between organic and artificial, human and machine, and living and dead have become mutable.

It has become important for me to investigate the interstice where our lived experience and technologies merge. Being (having) a body is a major part of our identity and individuality. Being flesh is how we know who we are. Our receiving minds are not just empty shells; they contain information and a psychic structure developed from bodily experience.

I have been developing a new piece that encompasses not only my history and identity but also my ongoing theoretical concerns. In this particular work, I am analyzing the tendency to reduce the human body to an object - a digital archive. If we see the body only as information (genetic codes, downloadable details, etc.), then its erasure appears feasible. The body becomes interchangeable and ultimately disposable. In a standardized model of human consciousness, where do life experience, memory, and sentience belong?

By using video capture and manipulating its subsequent storage, I am investigating how sentience is constructed from living in an extended structure of time in relationship with memory and bodily experience. I am also reflecting upon the ways in which this very experience is being altered by new technologies.

Source: Riva Stone's website.

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