David Rokeby is an interactive installation artist based in Toronto, Canada. He studied experimental art at the Ontario College of Art. His work has been exhibited in shows across Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan, including the Venice Biennale in 1986, Festival des Arts Electroniques (France) in 1988, the SIGGRAPH88 Art Show (USA), artware:kunst und Electronik (Germany) in 1989, the Kanagawa International Arts Festival (Japan) in 1990,and Arts Electronica (Austria) in 1991. He was awarded the first Petro-Canada Award for Media Arts in 1988 and the Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction for Interactive Art (Austria) in 1991. He recently created a large interactive video installation, Silicon Remembers Carbon, for the Central Exhibition of the Mediale in Hamburg, Germany. He is currently working on a new installation entitled The Giver of Names.
Very Nervous System
In Very Nervous System, David Rokeby uses video cameras, image processors, computers, synthesizers and a sound system to create a space in which the movements of ones body create sound and/or music. Very Nervous System has been primarily presented as an installation in art galleries but has also been installed in a wide variety of performances.
Very Nervous System has a rather complex history. It began as an experiment in visceral communication with computers. I wanted to be able to express myself to my computer in a very direct, non-verbal and non-logical manner. Over the course of its 13 year history its has gathered up many other of my interests and created new ones.
Among others, these include - exploration of the experience of very fast, complex feedback loops - exploration of the sense of body in relation to interactive sound - exploration of systems that make sense but are too difficult to truly control - exploration of body-intelligence, and of the complex interface between mind and body
While the context has changed a lot in the 13 years since the first Very Nervous System, the issues that I am trying to raise seem as important as ever. Very Nervous System 95 represents my latest attempt to provide an experiential context in which to explore these issues.
Echoing Narcissus (for the reference)
Sounds in the surrounding space are transformed by the well. A voice processor, amplifier and speaker create a feedback loop in which sounds fall towards the subsonic range in cascades. The speaker (in the bottom of the well) is covered in mylar (reflective plastic), which is distorted by the sound to distort the viewers image.
Very Nervous System
Prix Ars Electronica 1991
Movement is seen by a camera which sends its images to a computer which creates sounds and music which stimulates further movement.