<em>On Synchronics: Song of the Avatars</em>

Claudia Hart
On Synchronics: Song of the Avatars, 2013
Animation (color, sound)
Dimensions variable, landscape orientation
Installation view at the Daegue Media Art Factory, Daegue, Korea

Like a technological fairy tale, On Synchronics: Song of the Avatars envisions a giant in the form of a digital body spanning the globe. This body is both collective and international as it has been interpreted and reinterpreted by 24 current and former students of Claudia Hart. To create the work, Hart gave digital files produced for her work Dark kNight to former students, and asked them to participate in a game of exquisite corpse. She proposed that they use her movement files to animate their own characters, imagined as attempting to break out of an imprisoning computer into the real world. Hart created the animation by using “rag doll” technology, a process used by the gaming industry for first-person “shooter” games when simulating the death throes of dying figures.

In both Hart’s prototype animation and the longer collaborative exquisite cadaver work that resulted, a virtual character attempts to break through the computer screen. It is inspired by an historic work from the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo’s marble Slaves – unfinished sculptures portraying an agonized figure emerging from the confines of the “hacked” marble material. Like the Michelangelo figures, On Synchronics avatars struggle to preserve their autonomy and in so doing, discover their humanity in a crudely commercial contemporary world that is all too often alienating, media saturated and unnervingly technological.

To do this, On Synchronics: Song of the Avatars brings together different ideas about individual identity -expressed by animation, video and live performance — into a patchwork quilt created by 24 distinct artistic voices. Each artist’s interpretation mutates fluidly, one to the next, across a continuous movement sequence. Many individual characters therefore merge into a single global body, performing one unified, poetic choreography in which a digital avatar heroically wrestles to escape the safety of the systematic into the unpredictable flow of the real.

music by Peter Kusek
with sound design by Mikey McParlane and Claudia Hart
image from segment by Wesley Wilson and Nancy Chen

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