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REAL TIME {a procedure of ignudiO excess}


REAL TIME {a procedure of ignudiO excess} is a body of paintings from 2003 by Joseph Nechvatal. It is about the viral hermaphroditic body suspended in the ready position of timeless excessive - a sort of sullied Epicurean Hellenism simultaneously antediluvian and post-human. For this sub-theme of double-sexness, Nechvatal drew inspiration from Michelangelo's famous series of ignudis. In fact, for REAL TIME the artist has coined the term "ignudiO" in relation to his work by virtue of the fact that Michelangelo's angelic ignudi are here seen as both singular -- ignudo -- and multiple -- ignudi. Thus a form of representation is proposed which is a divine expression of the amalgamation of the male and the female and the singular and the plural. It is through this molding amalgamation that the show REAL TIME suggests a quasi-mythical deep time not unlike that found within the Tantric philosophical aspects of the Ardhanarisvara form of Siva: the form which articulates the eternal blending of male and female.

The dominant hermaphroditic visual form seen throughout REAL TIME is created through the computational morphing of testicles, ovaries, female breasts, and the buttocks of both sexes. Thus the exhibition REAL TIME entails a current - yet classic - theoretical mode of being in a phase of double-sexness through the use of computational power adjoined with aesthetic delicacy. For Nechvatal, the hermaphroditic sign serves as an emblem of the variance that characterizes what he sees as indicative of our era: the viractual (his term for the increased merging of the virtual with the actual). Indeed, Nechvatal proposes that the shop worn term Post-Modernism be retired when describing his work, in preference to what he calls "Viractualism". In an age of networked incredulity, where hierarchies are put into crises by the digital, the hermaphrodite becomes the harbinger of a new creative viractualism by maintaining a flickering position between stationary boundaries.

REAL TIME was chosen by the artist for the title for two reasons. First, through the utilization of digital-robotics, the paintings on view hold in suspension aesthetic moments preserved from real-time computer viral attacks which the artist performed using the most recent version of his custom viral software. This C++ based software, developed with the programmer Stephane Sikora, launches unpredictable progressive real-time virus operations that live off and transform its image hosts -- hosts created by the artist using a blend of digital-photography, computer graphic maneuvers and externalized computer code. These real-time viral attacks fall into the category of artificial life (A-Life); that is into a synthetic system that exhibits behaviors characteristic of natural living systems.

But too, through Nechvatal's use of viral ruinous states, standard identities are dissolved and individual components redistributed into a sense of a far more lost, timeless and ancient hermaphornology. In that sense, REAL TIME {a procedure of ignudiO excess} develops the Deleuzian-Guattarian concept of "becomings": a concept that implicates uncommon and deviant relations to other entities.

As Heidegger pointed out, technology is at its inception never strictly technological but metaphysical. For that reason, REAL TIME is about pondering the future capability of viractuality while tracing its connections to hoary mythological times. In that awareness, REAL TIME follows the Deleuzian-Guattarian circuit-machinomorphic strategy of the virtual implementing itself into the actual so as to re-virtualize itself. In that sense, REAL TIME {a procedure of ignudiO excess} counters the common notion that we are only becoming the abandoned and benumbed genitals of our virtualizing machines.

Joseph Nechvatal REAL TIME {a procedure of ignudiO excess} was held from February 21 - March 27 2004 in New York City at UCU. See:

Audio: BabblingTongues (1986) by Joseph Nechvatal