ExTV Presents: IRL to URL

In an age where our relationship with technology continues to grow and expand, we consider the ways in which digital bodies and avatars go on beyond reflecting real life and the ways in which avatars take on new forms, meanings, and build new worlds around them. In the same vein as Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto, we delve into our archive to find works to explore the digital experience, moving out of the IRL and into the URL. In our September Web Program, we highlight four videos dealing with the (digital) body and self, video game machinima, who all ask questions about identity, the consumption of technology, and the new digital experience. This month’s featured artists are shown as listed:

“Making of an Avatar” – Jenny Kljucaric (2017)

Making of an Avatar explores the regimented process of avatar creation within gaming, both on and offline as well as within internet communities. The video is a surreal behind the scenes look at a specific gaming trope, which often serves as the starting point of a break from reality – it marks the birth of an online counter-being. Drawing upon elements from games such as The Sims and Second Life and placing them within a slower paced and ominous environment allows the viewer to take a closer look at this usually lighthearted process. The piece utilizes some humor, seen in the styling and movement of the figures and textures, to heighten the bizarre act of creating a digital counterpart of one’s physicality, whether genuine or not. The mainly sexualized styling also eludes to the cyber sexual activity often present in gaming. The piece equates the concept of the avatar to that of the cyborg through its DNA and chromosomal imagery and its fragmentation of the body. Much like the cyborg, the avatar is a computerized program with a human-like avatar is a computerized program with a human-like appearance. The video pulls elements from the opening sequence from Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 animated film, as well as the audio to create a tense and somewhat meditative state. The audio also works to create a sense of humor between the ridiculous figures and the serious tone of the film’s opening sequence. In the end, as the figure is split in two, the pixelated version, signifying the acceptance of her being digitally-fabricated is left behind and the version that symbolizes the belief in this persona’s actuality goes on to exist within the game. (@00:08)

 “Forget It” – Taylor Effin Cleveland (2015)

here’s something you’ll forget you’ll watch it, then you’ll forget it…. a part of you will want to keep watching to see what will happen. But nothing will happen. a part of you will want to drift, but you’ll watch it, then you’ll forget it…. you will begin to understand what’s happening. you will realize the technique and question my identity. Then you will recognize your own. you will see your self and you’ll watch it, then you’ll forget it…. because your self is more than a single body. your self is an idea. and your self has purpose. and purpose is the reason for which something exists, and I may be able to show you your purpose but you’ll watch it, then you’ll forget it…. You are searching for truth. But you are limited through form. You will question your identity, and recognize your self. Your self is a form. And form is what we can measure to progress. You’ll watch it, then you’ll forget it…. You can measure your self, and you can grow. You will see a body, and you will find purpose. your self is an idea, not a body. and ideas contain truth. and you will question my identity, but you will know your self. and you’ll watch it, then you’ll forget it.. You will question my identity, and I will question yours. But I will question my identity, because I am searching for truth. I recognize my self as an idea. I am more than a single body. And I need to grow. And I will show you and you’ll watch it, then you’ll forget it. I will show you MY self, and I will show you purpose. Because we need to grow. and you’ll watch it, then you’ll forget it. and we will grow and you’ll watch it, then you’ll forget it. forget it. (@3:40)

“The Last Message to Jean Otherman” – Yingting Cui (2016)

Bulilunia Society project is based on a story of two protagonists after they found life on Mercury. Bulilunia Society Co. is a fictitious scientific company. The aspect of conclusive truth in scientific is subverted through the use of computer generated sound, character image and fictional story telling. The conversation and monologue of what is or is not human are an assimilated conversation of race discrimination projected through ethnographers’ work. (@6:45)


“Humanoid” – Avital Meshi (2018)

A collection of thoughts inspired by sexuality in virtual-reality, female sex robots, avatar embodiment and the implications that this act may have on the real person. (@10:53)