Digital Capsule of Heaven and (E)art(h) is an exhibition concept that unites two works of new media art: Digital Heaven and Imagined Critters. The exhibition symbolically conceptualises our relationship with both "Here" (Earth - nature and all that it encompasses) and "Beyond" (Heaven - however it may be imagined or defined in the future), while delving into the profound impact of technology on the reshaping of human identity and our perception of the surrounding world.
Digital Heaven - Performance and Interactive Projection (2022)
Digital Heaven is a multifaceted work that encompasses both a choreographic performance and an interactive installation. It is the result of a collaborative effort between Cristina Bodnărescu (concept, visuals, programming), Anamaria Guguian (choreography), and Oana Băluță (performance), with sound and music by Ethics of Joy (Cristina Bodnărescu and George Urse).
This visually poetic choreographic spectacle explores the potential evolution and transcendence of the human body in the digital era. It delves into concepts such as the digital double, bodily camouflage, and agency. Through the use of interactive technologies like motion sensors, body-mapped projections, and gesture recognition, Digital Heaven brings to the forefront the intricate connection between the human body and its representation in the digital realm, underscoring the blurring boundaries between the physical and the simulated.
In this artistic performance, the dancer and her digital double explore new forms of communication and expression, emerging at the convergence of these two spaces. The human body undergoes physical augmentations and transformations, vividly portrayed through the body-mapped projections, while the digital double, as a form of artificial intelligence, learns and develops based on its analog counterpart until it achieves self-awareness.
The interactive projection of Digital Heaven offers a unique experience, derived from the performance of the same name, where participants engage with their own digital doppelgängers composed of constantly moving pixels. In this dedicated space for movement-based exploration, participants are encouraged to contemplate their own identities in relation to their digital shadows.
Imagined Critters - Interactive Installation (2022)
Imagined Critters is a captivating interactive installation created by Cristina Bodnărescu and George Urse, offering participants an intimate encounter with non- human virtual entities from an imaginary world. This installation questions the possibility of artificial intelligence becoming sentient and ascribes a degree of agency to technology.
Through imagined non-human creatures programmed to experience emotions and react to participants gestures and movements, Imagined Critters explores how technology can redefine the relationship between humans and non-humans. For instance, when a participant makes a friendly gesture, the creatures may respond by altering their behaviour, conveying emotions of friendship or joy through visual and auditory elements. Conversely, when a participant simulates an aggressive gesture, the creatures may react defensively, altering their shape and appearance accordingly.
The installation is designed as an immersive experience for a single visitor at a time, employing motion sensor technology to create a first-person holographic perspective that blurs the boundaries between physical and the virtual. By employing this digital Trompe-l'œil technique, the video projection becomes a vivid window into a virtual universe, establishing a hybrid space between reality and imagination, while stimulating contemplation on themes such as the reactivation of nature in response to human-friendly or aggressive behaviour.