As CGI shapes our view of the physical world, virtual representation of reality shifts from the mirror to the projection. The body, shared through different realities, transforms through the confrontation with the image of oneself and stimulates a construction of new physical states and levels of conscious awareness. This confrontation and dialogue between physical and virtual body can not result in an equivalence or unity of the two, but can establish a relationship between them. In a contemporary version of what [Jacques] Lacan calls “paranoiac knowledge”, we need to relate to the virtual image of ourselves in order to establish a relationship with the self, physically and digitally.
My works deal with the perception of the human body in the digital age. They are mainly multimedia installations that create a dialogue between the physical and the digital, a reflection on what is the body after it has been transferred into a virtual state. I use digital media to rematerialise the body, while questioning the gap between real and virtual, flesh and data. The body is the core, the platform of expression in both works. It is a fluid body, constantly switching between realities, physical and digital states. Working through the grotesque, the deformed and the uncanny, I establish a sort of awareness of the self, activated trough disorienting, disturbing situations. As Stelarc says: “The monstrous is no longer the alien other”. It is me, my physical body trying to relate and re- connect with its digital simulation.
Virtual Narcissism is a multimedia installation that shows the untouched results of the artist’s body that has, over the past year, been obsessively 3D scanned. The artistic process challenges 3D scanning technique by self-scanning and remaining still simultaneously without loss of body datas in the final 3D model. The work reflects on the translation of the body into a virtual state, it creates a grotesque dialogue between the physical and the digital. Furthermore, it investigates new ways of archiving memories by combining affordable 3D-scans with Virtual Reality that can be navigated, experienced, re-lived anytime and anywhere.
Martina Menegon (1988, Italy) is a new media artist, programmer and educator. Her work deals with the instability and ephemerality of the human body as well as the alienation from physicality in today’s digital age, questioning the gap between real and virtual, flesh and data. Since 2010 she also works together with Stefano D’Alessio creating interactive performances and installations.
With a degree in Visual and Performing Art at IUAV University of Venice and in Transmedial Arts at The University for Applied Arts of Vienna, since 2010 she is teaching assistant of at the IUAV University, where she teaches multimedia tools for interactive arts with Klaus Obermaier, artist she regularly collaborates with as programmer and tech/artistic assistant. She is also lecturing at the Art University of Linz and at the University of Applied Art in Vienna. Martina Menegon currently lives and work in Vienna.
Editor’s Note: This feature was originally published on our previous platform, In the In-Between: Journal of Digital Imaging Artists.
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