Peter V. Swendsen


(shadow) of myself (2000)

audience-controlled human puppet, with interactive video and sound

(shadow) of myself is a performance installation for audience-controlled human puppet with interactive video and electronic sound. The piece explores the idea that our bodies no longer end at the skin. Instead, our bodies exist in many places, at many times, usually by means of some virtual representation--telephone, TV, e-mail, Internet, other electronic media. Once these “versions” of ourselves leave our physical body, are we still in control of them? Is our agency in that external body compromised, or even given over to someone else? If that body is altered and returned to us, how do we accept it back into our physical being?

These questions are explored in (shadow) of myself, but are by no means answered. The audience finds themselves in control of a human puppet—a real body without control of its own physicality. The movement of the puppet controls the playback and behavior of sound and video—virtual representations of the physical body and its movement. The audience cannot manipulate this media directly with their own bodies, but can through the body of the puppet.

Initially created using BigEye, SuperCollider, and Director software, the piece now employs Max/MSP for audio synthesis and playback, and Isadora for video analysis, processing, and playback.


© 2016 pvs