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Indepth Arts News:

"Rokeby: MEMEX"
2003-05-13 until 2003-06-21
Institute of International Visual Arts
London, , UK

What does it mean to be a human being in the age of digital and bio-technology? By transforming himself into a cyborg, interactive media artist Rokeby will go in search of answers to a 21st -century problem. As he wanders the streets of London for forty days, Rokeby's nomadic existence will take him to sites of spiritual significance. Meanwhile the audience can track him live via the website, or encounter the cyborg face to face as he travels through the streets of the metropolis.

MEMEX: A Cyborg Pilgrimage in the Age of Amnesia is a new work commissioned by inIVA and supported by The Moose Foundation for the Arts. Equipped with a wearable computer, portable brainwave monitor, digital camera and a global positioning system, Rokeby transforms his body into a nomadic broadcasting tool and undertakes an unusual pilgrimage. Rokeby's journey questions the changing nature of identity and the human body, in a convergence of social, technological and scientific trends.

Starting from the Greenwich Meridian Line, certain destinations - such as the Peckham estate where schoolboy Damilola Taylor was murdered and the sites of the nail bombings in Brixton and Soho - are predetermined, but there is no fixed route or final destination. Instead the cyborg's route is open to suggestions via the MEMEX website (www.memex.org.uk). Meanwhile still images, video and electrical signals from the cyborg's brain will be converted into music and broadcast in cyberspace as a virtual manifestation of a physical journey. By creating 'memorial sculptures' on the website, MEMEX extends the exploration of spirituality and mythology into new media art practice.

This project is realised with the support of The Moose Foundation for the Arts.

Rokeby has previously worked on multimedia projects including: 'ICON', a series of digital portraits of Diana, Princess of Wales, simultaneously transmitted to video billboards in Times Square, NYC and the GMI (Global Multimedia Interface), Leicester Square, London; as well as 'Virtual Nightclub' an interactive movie. Exhibitions include: Louisiana, Copenhagen (Denmark), the Royal College of Art, London (UK), Teatro Toniolo, Venice (Italy), IOTA Center, Los Angeles (USA), Institut Universitari de l'Audiovisual, Barcelona (Spain). Rokeby is a recipient of an EMMA (European Multimedia Award) and was part of ESP (The Eidos Scholarship Programme).

Commissioning new work across a range of media, inIVA is a London-based arts agency that thrives on the city's cosmopolitan mix, whilst also collaborating with partner venues throughout the UK and worldwide. Offering wide-ranging voices and viewpoints, inIVA's artistic programme and library explore the creative possibilities provided by the constant interaction of cultures in the contemporary world.

Self-Portrait, 2002.

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