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The last few days of October saw the opening of an unusual multimedia exhibition of cyberart at Budapest’s Ludwig Museum on Castle Hill.

The title of the exhibition, lasting from October 25th until November 25th, is ‘Digitized Bodies‘. Including an appearance by Japanese/Canadian performance artist Atau Tanaka on October 26th, this was a group activity with collaborating artists from Toronto Canada, Budapest Hungary, and Ljubljana Slovenia (the exhibition’s third venue).

The central inspiration was the increasing use in medicine of ‘digitized’ bodies – for example 3D depictions of specific human corpses that can be recorded and manipulated in VRML (virtual reality markup language) so as to enable medical students anywhere in the world to view these 3-dimensional models of human organs. In addition to these exhaustively-scanned human bodies, there are also increasingly remotely-accessed medical surgery where doctors in several continents can collaborate in real-time on one tricky operation, using Internet video feeds and sometimes even Internet-mediated remote control of robotic tools for certain precision tasks of the surgery.

The artists in the three-city Digitized Bodies events are intrigued by two aspects of this medical use of the Internet.

The sense that being in several places at once in cyberspace can make us less concrete about our bodies – the increasing substancelessness of our bodies and tissues as manipulating information about us becomes more and more the same as manipulating our actual cells and tissues.

The matching sense that the Internet itself is increasingly becoming like an organic entity, a living network familiar to anyone who has seen colour slides of blood vessels, maps of nerve fibres, or the tree-like structures with which cells of any type assemble into living tissues.

It was therefore essential to hold the exhibition in several places – not just sequentially, but at once, with live video feeds and broadband linkups. At some point, the organisers were hoping (or fearing), exhibition, exhibitors, and exhibited are becoming one growing, and perhaps thinking, organism.
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Text: Judith Finn and Mark Griffith From Live Budapest

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