• In Brief
  • Want More?
  • Accessible Resources

You probably have a pretty good idea of what you look like. When you see yourself in mirrors, street windows, and your phone so many times a day, you get used to thinking about yourself in one way.

But in this gallery, four different versions of you exist. They might move as you move, or they might not.

These versions of you are created when an infrared camera uses AI to figure out your body and constructs an avatar to mimic the body that it sees.

Play with your digital self, and watch as your movements create traces. Your body will leave distorted echoes as your avatar changes composition, colour and materiality.

When technology is used to represent the body, where does the body end and the avatar begin?

Artist Statement

In 1964 Marshall McLuhan popularised the notion that tools and technologies operate as extensions of both physical and intellectual capabilities of humans, for McLuhan, any ‘technology is an extension or self-amputation of our physical bodies’.[1] When we engage with digital technologies with which we communicate, collaborate and create, we do so using various forms of avatar.  

The word avatar derives from ancient Sanskrit and translates to ‘a manifestation of the divine in human form or reincarnation’[2]. While today we commonly understand avatars as a 3-dimensional human form, rendered by computer graphics, the concept of the avatar extends to include any extension of subjectivity within a virtual environment. This includes, but is not limited to, social media profiles, representations of the self online and text-based signifiers of subjectivity.  

The representations of bodies in Traces of You consist of various different avatars and representations that leave traces of the viewer’s movements throughout the gallery space. The work encourages the viewer to consider ways in which their physical realities are extended through the use of both avatars and media technology. In addition to this, the work is intended to pose questions as to how virtual representations of the body might affect one’s reality and as to how far the bodies capacities may be both limited and extended through the use of media technologies. 

— Alex Degaris, Artist 

 

***

[1] McLuhan, M, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man, McGraw-Hill, 1964, pg. 49  

[2] Li, K-Y, R, Sofra, J, & Power, M, 3D Avatars and Collaborative Virtual Environments, in J, Kisielnicki, Virtual Technologies, Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications, Information Science Reference, 2007, pg. 602  

Audio description to come