Sunday, 8 November 2015

Robot sex and all that....

One of the main interests I have (apart from figurative drawing and painting!) is exploring our understanding of and our representation in virtual and digital spaces. My initial degree in London encompassed notions of the body in terms of traditional figurative approaches in art, along with sexuality and new technologies (a later blog will cover this...) - Virtual Reality  (VR)in particular. I eventually did my PhD on it.

I was part of the early VR and' Digital Revolution' in the early 1990s, when VR was clunky and hyped - but the internet (1.0) was just entering our homes. I worked with a company called Virtual S as a work placement during my degree - and we worked on the the first sex themed immersive virtual world in 1991/92. It was pretty awful and clunky (it was gamified about using condoms...) - but it was fab at the time, and contested some of our understandings and ethics of reality and the body. I looked at the idea of body suits with Mark Bennett (who also took the black and white photos below of actress and TV presentet Margi Clarke ) that were connected to technology, and wrote for his publication 'Black Ice'.

The following images were taken from the original VR experience.

 It was a wild time, with the work being shown as part of the emerging underground sexual sub-cultures of the time that were developing in London.  I had lots of fun and met some incredible people at conferences and events where I gave talks and presentations about my work - a few are listed below (links to some Wikis and personal web sites...):

Leigh Bowery  Sandy Stone  Stelarc  William Gibson  Bruce Sterling Sadie Plant  Rosi Braidotti  Orlan Kevin Warwick

I was lucky enough to give a talk at one of the Virtual Futures sessions at the University of Warwick during the 1990s.

 I am pleased to say that the nature of those conferences has been revived by Luke Robert Mason - and I gave a presentation at Virtual Futures 2.0 in 2011 - so it was great to see him again and some other familiar faces when I was recently invited on a panel to discuss 'Robot Sex' by Luke - for one of his Virtual Futures Salons in London.

I am currently still looking at the digital body, as well as doing my more traditional drawings and paintings using pencil, paint, canvas and paper. More on this later.... in the meantime.. here's another 'selfie'....

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