EFFIE HALIVOPOULOU DataBase #2 2004 [C/R] - x +

CN: HalE2004dat2

MT: mixed media: C-type prints on paper in fluorescent acrylic resin in lightboxes (43x11x8)

CT: Art Base, Brussels - 2007

LC: Attica Tradition Educational Foundation, Athens

CM: The fairground. One day in the studio I hid a bulb of fluorescent light behind a semi-transparent membrane of acrylic resin. A set of ideas was activated by this gesture. They condensed the visual and cognitive data that I had accumulated after three years of intense reading and of surfing on the net in the areas of biotechnology and genetics. It was the time when the HGP was announced broadly through every TV station, suggesting the turmoil of ideas that were to be aroused concerning human identity. Up until then, artworks or critical texts that dealt with ideas of the "new identity", "reshuffling the self" etc. intrigued me. In front of the new horizon they seemed weak if they focused on the cosmetic surgery interventions or probably on a set of behavioral traits. Genetic interventions, suggested by the HGP, is a different story. A war of biotechnological opinions is on its way and the horizon between reality and possibility of alteration vanishes forever. § Looking at the inside of the body on the screen is like being on a fairground for visual artists. The body is all there, wide open to suggestions, alterations and planned interventions. Its mystery is replaced by archives of digital data. Its familiarity - we dwell in the body after all - is transformed into numerals and graphs. In the virtual cortex my everlasting genes coexist with the genes of every other human being on the planet. A new aspect of the body that challenges interaction, change and fluidity is on its way. And yet, this primeval soup, the gene pool, is there, available to everybody, only because technology permits it. Electronic microscopes and software have done the job. § The lab. I started gathering visual and theoretical data, graphs and maps. When the "gene pool" was complete, I put into practice a mechanism of different studio works that ended up to the installation "DataBase (and I suspended)". What I did was simple. I created different transparent surfaces that simulated the visual data from the computer and added accidental alterations: cells in the process of multiplication, neurons in the process of firing information through their synaptic gaps, cells in mutation, gene graphs, photos, etc. After six months I stopped this indexing. I was now surrounded by three- dimensional models, hybrids of the inside of the body in a size that practically covered the whole surface of my rather big studio. There I was, in the middle of a symbolic and magnified world, a world that I would never have accessed had it not been for cyberspace. § The next move was to compile the work in a single stack and light it from within. Compilation added new meanings since it created an apocalyptic and yet mysterious layering of different functions. Every single element of the work, either painted surface or light bulb was interacting with the rest. When one little bulb was moved an inch to the right or to the left, the system changed dramatically. Endless fluidity, reckless intervention, I thought. I installed the system on the floor and placed some of its parts on the walls hanging here and there. The studio looked like a lab. Walking through the enlightened membranes the scale of my body changed. The human dimension was overemphasized as if I was embodied behind the screen, in this mysterious world full of suggestions, expressed fears and errors. The turmoil of all those months of work melted, in the end, into a single virtual-visual experience. Arbitrariness and the accidental, the amount of risk and experimentation that are so familiar to painters are all inherent into this symbolic lab. The lab is a fairground where everything is possible. This frenzy of accumulating data in the cyber archives made it real. I reformed digital data into a world of atoms. § The replicator. Then the work was photographed and was placed on the site. I was astounded by its digital version. I guess that my reaction before its new visual appearance was similar to that of a scientist who has failed to accomplish an experiment. In the past I had reformed dozens of constructions and paintings into digital data. Without exception, they retained most of their traits on the computer. Behind the screen they all looked like "artworks in an artist's site" - but not this one. The work was practically devoured by the screen and I thought I was at point zero, but not quite. It is back in the space where it belongs and there it imploded, I reckoned . This new virtual experience was absolutely theatrical. The work was intangible and diffused again. All references to its actual materiality were devaluated. Its spatial characteristics disappeared behind the screen. Its tactile traits were lost without a hint that they had ever existed. At the same time an unforeseen virtual space opened up. It is a dynamic space that suggests interaction, the sense of the provisional, contradictory possibilities. The close-ups of the work -in reference to their digital origins- toy with a scientific imagery which stretches out the fear of change, careless intervention and experimental risk. Where am I, I wondered, having the double experience that I walked through and around the work, fantasizing about it at the same time in front of the screen. Well, here I am, through this work- a symbolic replicator - , interconnected in a fluid manner between my digital self and that of the atoms. The viewers of the work's digital reality interact with it when they sit in front of their computers through their "situated vision". The viewers of the work's reality of atoms interact with it in full synesthesia when they encounter it in the gallery. "The dissolution of TV into life, the dissolution of life into TV"... has been said. I had gone full circle. [Effie Halivopoulou "DataBase And I: Genes Full Circle" 05/2001]

CATALOG XVI Bienal Internacional del Deporte en el Arte: BIDA 2005 Las Atarazanas Reales, Sevil, Spain