Method and Apparatus for Finding Love
This project follows from my work Charged Hearts where I began to examine the relationships of physics, emotion, and new communications technologies. As part of Charged Hearts, we (myself, and my collaborator Dr. W. Martin Snelgrove) had created a website with an interactive, real time, java-based game -- an intimacy simulation that led us to speculate about the mediation of emotion by technologies. Since working on Charged Hearts in 1996 I became increasingly convinced that the mediation of emotions was on the cultural/technological agenda with the unspoken implication that it would be a breakthrough to huge new markets.
Realizing that massive funding would be necessary for building a work around these ideas, we decided that we would take the first step creating the piece as a patent. This had several important attributes. It implicated the discussion of intellectual property which is increasingly privatizing human activity. It created a new site for an artwork as in many respects patents are similar to art galleries in that they maintain well-established boundaries between subject and object. Consequently, just as I had used the gallery as a 19th century exhibition site, we used the patent as a site. It offered a link to some of my other works on shielding (Curiosity Cabinet, at the End of the Millennium 1995 and Shroud/Chrysalis I 2000), as patents posit a shielded environment for those who can afford it. It dictated an established form that offered an extraordinary opportunity to entwine both science and art as agents of desire. Finally we could take a step in speculating on a terrain that is now increasingly being charted in research labs and we examined its implications.
Just as my other art pieces 'work,' so does this one - this patent has been filed at the US patent office. This is an important aspect of my art pieces, as I want to cross the boundary between representation and actuality. Curiosity Cabinet... is not just about shielding and a visual emblem it actually protects. Other senses and structures are involved as much as the visual. I suggest that this movement to other senses is part of the cultural agenda and a tendency in information technologies as well.
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