Introduction to computational media

How does computation apply to my body?

I am the last generation of those who still have memories without the internet. I remember when the internet came to me, at the beginning of the 21st century, while I was still living with my family, in a very small city where I was born and raised. Simultaneously, public space was becoming dangerous – narratives of violence, robbery, and other crimes became commonplace in Brazil. Therefore, the children could not play on the streets as free as before.

frame of a self-portrait video I made 5 years ago using glitch techniques

My child’s body became more at home in the company of machines. At the same time, I began to discover myself as a homosexual and did not find territory around me that resonated with my existence. It was when part of me started to hide – and find myself in a virtual environment. The computer then became an important extension of my existence as a cyborg-body, creating relationships, affections, and shaping my subjectivity.
This is just the starting point of a long way of interacting with computers, but not being purposive due to a lack of knowledge in the field. If the computation is a language, the first step, before being able to think about it, criticize it and design new ways of interacting with it, is learning it.
I’m interested in the way computational affects relations no just between humans, but also between humans and other species. And going deeper, I’d love to investigate how hardware is produced, mapping the paths of the natural resources used to fabricate it, since its extractivist context in the South Global. This could be a base for artistic and educational projects to think about new technology.

Projects I imagine doing this term

For this term, I’m not sure about the projects I want to develop, but I have some guidelines in my mind. In the past year and a half, I was working inside an office for an art institution. This everyday intense interaction with computers, after working as a dancer, made me realize that I don’t want to design experiences to be watched in a standard squared screen, because usually nowadays people have enough interaction with it.
So I’m more interested in designing performances, or collective performances to be tried in real space, interacting with nomadic digital systems and wearables, for instance, augmented reality, sensors, sensible sounds. Although I’m not sure about how computational media is going to apply to that, I know it’s going to be an important part of this desired development.

Projects I love ❤

I don’t know if I love a project specifically using computational media, I don’t even know if it’s possible to make love with machines – actually, this as a question really interests me.
But I remembered two projects I really enjoyed watching. The first one is Visual Sounds of the Amazon, by the Australian artist Andy Thomas. He traveled to the Amazon rainforest to collect the sights and sounds of the jungle and transformed it into visual experiences, with the hope of spreading awareness about its plight.

The other one is a virtual reality experience that I had here in New York last week at the opening of an individual exhibition by the artist Jess Johnson aka Flesh Dozer at Jack Hanley Gallery. She is a drawer who started creating virtual reality experiences in partnership with the 3D artist Dimon Ward. The works invite us to enter portals to impossible architectures and geometries, allowing us to encounter creatures that don’t exist in this world. Really mind-blowing!

“Grand Geometricon” by Jess Johnson, 2019

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