Brassiere for Living Sculpture (Charlotte Moorman) is one sharp example to humanize electronics … and technology. By using TV as bra… the most intimate belonging of human being, we will demonstrate the human use of technology, and also stimulate viewers, NOT for something mean, by stimulate their phantasy [sic] to look for the new, imaginative, and humanistic ways of using our technology. —Nam June Paik, 1969
The piece consists of a pair of three-inch television screens mounted in plexiglass cubes which are strapped over the breasts of the cellist. The televisions display oscillations created from signals from a pickup on the cello. This shows direct relationship and impact between the Human and the Technology, which is the major key to his point on Humanizing Technology.
Before I read into the details of his performance, I was thinking this is another piece that embodies female sexuality and desire as the performance piece. Well, perhaps, one of the best way to capture attention and input strong impression on people is to use the female body as the protagonist and this may be the Paik’s intention too.
As I research, I realize his true intention and truly admire his vision of the use of technology in future.
Although TV today has somewhat been replace by computers, however, it is still something that is not detachable from every households. TV Bra for Living Sculpture is one of Paik’s first experiments that embodied his foresight towards the rapid progress of technology. I think by distorting the already accomplished image of television, and transforming it to an intimate object, the women’s bra, he succeeded to attract viewer’s attention to present a television as an object of contemplation.
As an artist, I believe it is important for us to deliver our own vision of what the future will become in order for people to anticipate the future positive (or even negative) possibilities.
“….The installation existed within the digital telephone network of the ISDN. Two separate interfaces were created and put into two separate locations, were they function as customised video conference systems. In the two locations two double beds are placed, one in an illuminated space and one in a dark space. The bed that is in the illuminated space, has a camera directly placed above and records person A and the bed which is then sent as an image, to a projector that is directly placed above the second bed in the dark location. The live image is projected down onto the bed with Person B also in the image. Another camera located at the side of the projector screen, this camera sends a live image of the projection of Person A along with person B who is also in the image, to a variety of monitors that are located in the illuminated area and around the bed….
Within Telematic Dreaming the user can exchange their tactical senses and swap their sense of touch, with the sense of sight by replacing their hands with their eyes.” – Wikipedia
Sermon had presented a unique way to interact with the audience through his artwork.
He transforms a bedroom, into a telematic space. Two separate locations, each with beds laid out, are connected through a digital network. The participants lying on the beds are at different places but their images exist right next to each other at the same time. What begins between them is ‘eye’ touching instead of hand touching. They also ‘talks’ through gestures, exchanging their emotions.
Many performance artists have challenged the concept of private versus public space and Sermon’s Telematic Dreaming fits exactly into this concept. Even without real sense of touch, the intimacy between the artist and the participants are still present. It is especially interesting when he uses the setting of a bedroom for this installation as the bedroom is where the most private exchanges occurs and now it was out on public as an exhibition. Also I notice that the lights are purposely made to be dim perhaps to produce a comfortable home setting and also implying sexuality and intimacy. To me, I felt that it was to question the society norms of what should and should not be done out of your comfort/private space and challenge the limits of what the audience can or cannot accept.
What caught my attention most is that the installation occurs at 1993 where video conferencing have not been developed yet and internet was not as accessible. Someone who is at this era now might find it common and perfectly normal that two bodies of different locations are able to communicate. However, this concept of interacting at different spaces (or should I say that it is creating a common space from two different spaces), at that point of time is absolutely mind-blowing. Perhaps the Sermon wanted the participants to experience a space out of where their physical bodies are and question about time and space.