Artists Statement: My practice examines the strategies of how we perform—the systems of control we set in place, the identities we construct, and the way we negotiate our psychological, tangible and virtual positions. Most recently I find myself questioning the greater emphasis placed on physical experiences as a measure of authenticity/intimacy in an age where the boundaries between physical reality and the virtual become nearly indistinguishable. Employing broader themes such as militarism, religion, queer sexuality and technology, I expose and challenge the changing condition of bodies and psyches as they collide against each other within these often dysfunctional atmospheres. While my primary discipline is in video/animation and other new media, my practice is interdisciplinary—manifesting in such other formats as installation, performance, and drawing. The tension/collision between the "real" and the "virtual" as they position themselves for control drives my current projects. At the surface of this current conversation is an exploration of what I am looking at as a new kind of queer technosexuality—an identity/experience in which the supremacy of physical body-to-body contact is questioned, and virtual sexualities, and hybrid techno-body sexuality exists along a continuum of experience devoid of traditional hierarchies. This rises to the surface in this submitted project which incorporates a virtual erotic situation that ignores the role of genitalia in favor of hand-based penetration via usb ports implanted in skins of 3D modeled characters. Bodies and environments both "real" and "virtual" contend with this unstable system, and are perpetually interrupted by seemingly meaningless signs and symbols signs that queer the haptic perception of bodies, actions and icons. Likewise the rigidity of modernist frameworks for coding and identifying "form," "action," and "body" collapse in favor of a field of conceptual possibilities outside of binary perception.
Artist(s): Benjamin Rosenthal, University of Kansas