We were invited by an alternative art space in Berlin, Germany, to create a three-channel video installation. This video, flâneur, draws upon the time between 1890 and the mid 1930′s and encompass Neoclassicism, Jugendstil and Modernism by using the architecture, dance, music and philosophy of the period. As we researched the era, we came to realize that during these years, Berlin had grown rapidly into a very cosmopolitan city and radical changes had occurred. We found numerous unexpected similarities to our work that made that time particularly resonant to us. The handling of volume, space and proportion in the Neoclassicism of the late 19th century was familiar from our work with the digitized human figure. We found a connection as well within the Jugendstil, or German Art Nouveau, especially in the typography and music that was related to it. The typography was one of its distinguishing characteristics and in a number of ways it relates visually as well as conceptually to our 21st century work and with what we see as the typography inherent in the human form. The style’s organic, floral appearance was inspired by nature and the resulting curvilinear froms are evocative of our digital sectioning of the three-dimensional human figure. Modernism that followed brought with it an acceptance of technologies that allowed one to reconfigure and re-imagine the world in ways unforeseen until then, much as modern digital technology has impacted the world today.
As foreigners looking voyeuristically into this culture we appropriated the French term “flâneur” to describe an outsider’s experience of the city. For the video we plan to move through that era using digital avatar/marionettes created using motion capture technology and three-dimensional scans of dance performers. These marionettes have the advantage of being weightless, a property most resistant to dance, and they will appear graceful, without the consciousness that afflicts their human counterparts. flâneur will take the viewer through the cultural changes sweeping the era using these marionettes and three-dimensional architectural models. We plan to deconstruct both the human and the architectural models similarly to the way we have treated the figure in the past, to rupture, puncture, section and unfold their skins as a means to re-visualize them and to explore their volumes in unique ways. We are approaching the narrative of the piece as a fairy tale and collage. By referencing two writers of the period, Friedrich Nietzsche and his influential approach to architecture, and Carlo Collodi, author of The Adventures of Pinocchio, we intend to abstract and meld these divergent sources into a contemporary whole and to also introduce a sense of transcendence into the work.
Collaborating since 1991, Lilla LoCurto and Bill Outcault are artists whose work concerns itself with the frailty of the human body. In 1999, using a whole body scanner in collaboration with anthropologists, cartographers and a computer scientist the artists produced three-dimensional, photographic maps of their bodies. With custom software, written in collaboration with mathematicians, they were able to deconstruct and remap the scanned figure generating choreographed imagery that was made into video animations. Currently, with an art and technology residency at the Wexner Center and in collaboration with OSU’s departments of dance and theater and ACCAD, they are venturing into a new body of work that is moving away from animation as their sole footage source. The work will again include the use of a whole body scanner but will also incorporate video and motion capture of actors and dancers to create a collage of sorts to blend with the animation.
Exhibitions include a widely traveled solo exhibition selfportrait.map, which originated at the List Visual Art Center at MIT. They also have had solo exhibitions at the Frederieke Taylor Gallery in New York, Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona, Spain and Carpenter Center at Harvard University. Their work has been included in such group exhibitions as New Art. New York: Reflections on the Human Condition in Traun, Austria, Digital: Printmaking Now at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Contemporaneou.s. in Cornwall and Sunderland, UK. They have also contributed chapters and articles about their work to such publications as The Meaning of Photography, Clark Institute; Mapping in the Age of Digital Media, Yale University, and the journal Cartographic Perspectives. Published essays on their work include Lilla LoCurto and William Outcault: Self-Portraits for a New Milennium by Helaine Posner for Art Journal, spring 2006 and [un]moving pictures by Patricia Phillips in 2006 for a ten year survey exhibition at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. They have held residencies at Maryland Institute College of Art, Colorado State University, Harvard University and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio.