Solve et Coagula (1997) is primarily an attempt to give birth to a new life form: half digital, half organic. Through a multisensorial, full duplex sensory interface the installation networks the human with an emotional, sensing and artificially intelligent creature; it mates man with a machine turned human and everything that goes with it: ecstatic, monstrous, perverted, craving, seductive, hysterical, violent, beautiful.
Solve et Coagula is a post-human life form. It presents the emergence of a new species, a bio-cybernetic symbiosis, transforming the conception of being human by networking man with a sensing and emotional machine. Through a bio-cybernetic interface, the installation extends the computer’s logic and intelligence into a human domain of dark desire.
Through a corporal and sensual symbiosis of an intelligent, interactive three-dimensional creature and a human user(s) Solve et Coagula questions the possibility of a post-human and a post-biological life form.
The installation is a multisensorial perception- and manipulation device. It uses several modes of interaction to both read and influence the user(s):
- 3D audio-kinetics: Through spatial, 3D sound projected from the loudspeakers the user is immersed in a moving audio pattern (audial reality) of the creature’s constantly-changing virtual body, surrounding and enclosing the user inside the creature itself.
- VR: the primary user is visully immersed in a non-linear, non-cartesian computer constructed 3D reality of the creatures body.
- Light: the user is flooded in light inversly in intensity to the creatures emotional arousal.
- Body suit: The body suit of the user serves as an intelligent, two way communication interface to the creature. It provides (i) tactile stimuli so that the creature can touch the user’s body, and (ii) the creature sense the body condition of the human through the built-in bio-sensors.
On entering the installation the participant steps inside a massive ovoid shell of metal arms. The participant is dressed head-to-toe in the tools needed for interacting with the artificial intelligence: a lightweight body suit, microphone, and a head-mounted display. Video beamers project a view of the creature’s constantly changing body on projection surfaces placed around the installation.
The creature speaks to the participant through moving, three-dimensional sounds projected from the 8 channel sound system surrounding the installation. Its ‘voice’ is a bizarre, mutant-like combination of organic noises and distorted samples of the human voice; it changes constantly in response to the participant’s input.
The participant wears stereoscopic viewing glasses through which she is visually immersed inside the computer-constructed 3D reality of the creatures body. The creature presents the participant with organic “body parts” as representatives of its various emotional states. The creature brings the participant to each body part through a vein- or intestine-like labyrinth of tunnels.
The tactile body suit worn by the participant provides stimuli of pressure and vibration, so that the creature can touch and manipulate the users body. The creature can also sense the body condition of the human through bio-sensors built in to the suit.
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