Compagnie Simon Senn (Switzerland)
Concept and direction: Simon Senn
Producer: Compagnie Simon Senn
Co-producer: Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne Le Grütli, Centre de production et de diffusion des Arts vivants, Théâtre du Loup
Distribution: Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
On the stage perform: Simon Senn, Arielle F, Simon Senn in the body of Arielle F
The project is supported by: Fondation suisse pour la culture Pro Helvetia, Fondation Ernst Göhner, Pour-cent culturel Migros, Porosus Loterie Romande
Duration: 1 h
DATES: 3 October, 18:00; 4 October, 18:00
VENUE: Arts Printing House, Black Hall (Šiltadaržio str. 6, Vilnius)
Simon Senn, the creator of the play, says that trying on another person’s body is no longer an area of science fiction. Having purchased a full-body 3D photograph of a girl named Arielle on one online portal, he uses technology to inhabit that body and feel the limit (or lack of it) of technology, corporeality, psychology, and law. The seemingly simple 3D photography technology reveals an extremely complex world of technology intersecting with our bodies – how virtual presence can harm our psyche, what rights we still have to our body images online, and whether we can be protected under international law if our body images come under threat?
Artistic Director of the Festifal
What is the feeling when I am you?
What can this body do? I bought a digital copy of a woman’s body for $ 12 at www.3dscanstore.com. In the document there was a static, photo-realistic 3D image – the body of a young, naked woman. I used a free online tool to give her a digital foundation – to make her move. With the help of several internet users around the world, I developed a stunning motion capture system: I bought several sets of virtual reality equipment, including sensors for playing video games. I put sensors on my body as well as virtual reality headphones and “turned” into this young woman.
I raise my hands, I look at them – they are a woman’s hands. I look down and my mind fools me into thinking I have a woman’s body. I can see all the details of this body, the skin. I catch myself thinking it suits me…
After this disturbing experience, I found this young woman on social media using the #3dscanstore tag. I found a selfie she posted during a body scan. I contacted her and offered to meet. She agreed. I drove to her home in England and filmed our meeting. We decided to name her Arielle.
This meeting upset me, so I visited a psychologist and asked about identity issues related to my body’s perception. The desire to surgically transform oneself into filtered individuals is now recognized as a clinical condition, known as Snapchat dysmorphia. I also decided to consult a lawyer on legal issues related to the use of this digital body.
Conversations with Arielle continued. We talked about what her body can do. It forced me to do what I would never have done without this new body, which in a sense became my body as well. Being alone on stage, with all the virtual reality technology and Arielle, connected to the third body (the one I’m using to move) through Facetime, I’m here to explain this story.
About the creator
At first glance, it may seem that Simon Senn is a socially engaged artist who speaks out against a certain injustice. However, his works reveal more diverse and ambitious methods of work: although Simon creates primarily on the basis of reality, a poetic layer always appears in his works.
Simon Senn was born in 1986 and lives and works in Geneva. It is here he completed a bachelor’s degree at HEAD School of Visual Arts and a master’s degree from Goldsmiths College, London. Simon Senn’s work Hotel des Sapins is part of the Kunsthaus Zürich collection. Simon’s works have been exhibited at the Liverpool Biennale, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Bern Art Museum, and the creator has been honored with the Swiss Performing Arts Prize, the Swiss Arts Prize and the Kiefer Hablitzel Awards.
Exploring the changes in identity that are increasingly brought about in everyday life by the presence of virtual reality […] partly documentary, partly virtual Simon Senn’s work shifts the boundaries between reality and its representation. The experience narrated by Simon Senn shows the possibility of entering another person’s body with ordinary and universally available technology. Unlike the early 3D animated figures that appeared on the scene in the 1990s, this performance does not seek to surprise the audience; on the contrary: the artist reveals how easily he implemented his project and explores the accelerating computerization of our lives through a personal narrative.
Eric Vautrin ir Fanny Holland