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Interactive Documentary Archive

YMYI (You Move You Interact)

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By: João Martinho Moura and Jorge Sousa
Project type: Installation live gallery event real time experience

Description:  (this project was proposed to the archive by João Martinho Moura – the following description comes from him)

YMYI (You Move You Interact) is an interactive installation, where one is supposed to build up a body language dialogue with an artificial system so as to effectively achieve a synchronized performance between the real user´s body and the virtual object itself. The project aims at exploring a spatial sphere,where the user/performer is invited to develop his own creative inspiration based on his own body gestures and movements.

Reflecting on the concept present in YMYI, we realized that the user expectations on our installation were twofold – narrative and image. Underlying these concepts, that relate to us as Humans, and our perception of ourselves and the surrounding environment, we truly believe that the following definitions presented by the scientist António Damásio constituted a resourceful enlightenment. According to Damásio, on the one hand “the images (mental patterns) may be conscious or unconscious (…) The unconscious images are never directly accessible. The images access is to be provided in a single first person perspective ( my images, everyone´s images). On the other hand, the neural patterns are to be provided in a third person perspective. If I considered the possibility of observing my own neural patterns resorting to advanced technology, I would be always doing it in the third person perspective.” ( DAMÁSIO, 2000:362).

Find out more:

Watch a video of the installation and read the documentation about the project here

My comments:

I have not seen this project… but I have watched the video and I had a sort of  Wow factor… This is for me what new media does best: it allows us to visualize things outside of our “natural” perception. The authors referred  to Damasio and his theories of consciousness… but I see a lot of Deleuze and Guattari’s Body Without Organs in this piece.

This project allows us to “see” how, while moving, we literally change the space around us… but also: “we” change too!! This links the project to all the concept of “co-emergence” that biologist-cybernetician Francesco Varela has described in The Embodied Mind. We are not “here” in a world that is “outside” of us… we are co-emerging, and co-defining the world and ourselves through movement in an embodied self…

Now my problem is: although I love this project, should I include it here? Is this Digital Art or Interactive Documentary?

As you have probably noticed I have entered YMYI as an installation and I tagged it as an “experiential mode” project. This means that I consider that this is an art project that sits in an art gallery… but that what it does is to construct a documentary narrative about our relation with the world. The fine line between art and documentary is impossible to define. So I take the liberal choice of seeing in YMYI an experiential narrative: a way to experience a fundamental condition of our being in the world that has been described in words (Damasio, Varela, Deleuze, Guattari & many others), that could be described by moving image (but how? by interviewing people that would speak about the philosophers that have debated the question?)… or that could be somehow “experienced”. The whole idea of an embodied mind is that, after all, it is through experience that we learn…

I understand that I am pushing the definition of interactive documentary quite far… but what interests me is not to encapsulate what is, or is not, an interactive documentary, but to think about the ways in which interactive digital technology allows us to speak/see/think/experience reality in an interactive way… and here this project is quite illuminating – at least for me… any comments on this??

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

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