We spoke to Julia Grigorian and Kirby McClure, the pair behind Radical Friend as they set up their first live art installation ever, The Digital Flesh at our NY event. Here’s their creation myth for their evolving organism spawned by machines:
Julia Grigorian: We’ve always been inspired by the fusion of technology, humanity, and the organic world with other technological planes, so this has been brewing in our heads for a while.
Kirby McClure: The idea is that we’re traveling from city to city and three-dimensionally scanning in people to become part of this kind of mega-shape. So at the end it’s basically going to be a large organism that’s comprised of all of these different 3-D scans. We’re really interested in the idea of technology and humans coexisting, creating elevated ways of thinking through technology and through the internet, and how the internet is kind of becoming this collective unconscious with people accessing it, feeding it, and taking things away from it. We decided to create the physical manifestation of that which will be in Beijing, when we will have a digital séance to summon the organism off the internet, and then you will see it as this hologram and have a physical experience with it.
Julia Grigorian: That’s the only time we’ll know what it actually looks like, at the end, when it actually gets birthed. This specific technology was developed for this project. 3-D scanning exists, but this specific kind with motion has never been done before outside of a laboratory. This is the first time it’s been implemented in an installation. There’s a lot of that that’s going on in this project, where we’re taking technology that exists for something else, but we’re using it in a different way.
You can follow Radical Friend’s The Digital Flesh as it travels to London tomorrow for our UK event, and then on to our events in São Paulo, Seoul, and Beijing. We’ll also be updating The Digital Flesh website soon, so you’ll be able to interact with the organism online while it’s still in tech-utero, see scans of your friends who attended the events, and lots of other interesting applications that are still being, ahem, fleshed-out. Check the site soon to see all the interesting ways this virtual embodiment of the installation is springing to life.