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Performance looks at downloading a virtual female body

3 beariellef i simonsenn

Kickstarting October’s festivals is a Limassol annual event that honours the performing arts. The 13th Open House Festival begins on Saturday with the performance Be Arielle F at Rialto Theatre.

In this digital conference that doubles as a demonstration and confession, videographer and visual artist from Geneva Simon Senn demonstrates how the virtual world and the real world are not always in opposition, revealing the unexpected entanglements between technology, representation, gender and law. Senn’s experience began when he bought a digital replica of a female body online. He then went in search of the woman whose body he was virtually inhabiting. Onstage he conveys this disturbing experience to the audience.

After downloading the replica (a detailed and accurate reproduction), he brings it to life with easily purchased sensors and discovers what it is like to ‘have’ a female body – at least through his 3D glasses. The experience was moving. Who is this woman? Can he do anything he likes with this digital body? What about the new and enjoyable sensuality this virtual form offers him?

He managed to track down the young woman and begin a discussion with her (one that continues today), where together they investigate this third digital body that exists between them. Arielle is now part of the project and is present in the show.

Senn decided to consult a psychologist and explore his feelings of ‘gender disturbance’, which continue to surprise him – does he perhaps suffer from Snapchat dysmorphia, the clinically accepted psychological illness of those who wish to transform themselves to resemble their online image?


Be Arielle F

Performance by Simon Senn. Part of the Open House Festival. October 1. Rialto Theatre, Limassol. 8.30pm. €8,10. Tel: 7777-7745

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