For over thirty years Rebecca Allen has investigated a variety of technological forms of expression including 3D computer animation films, music videos, large-scale performance works, interactive art installations, video games, artificial life systems and virtual reality. Allen is not interested in technology for its own sake, however. Rather, she is interested in a technoculture which humanizes technology even while maintaining a critical stance towards it. Or perhaps one can even say that it is her critical approach towards technology that helps humanize it.
Allen demonstrates this critical approach with her concern with artistic quality and the conceptual integrity of her work—a conceptual integrity that stresses the effect on the mind of the viewer. Indeed her main concern appears to be the investigation of the perceptual and cognitive processes of the viewer. Thus she approaches technology from an almost expressionistic angle, where human feeling and emotional reaction predominate the art.
The 21st century has brought a new level of discourse about simulation and the constructed nature of reality and self. As we view ourselves as decentralized, multiple selves there is increasing awareness that we exist in a liminal world; a world that merges the physical and virtual and allows us to simultaneously be both here and there.
Over the last three decades, Rebecca Allen’s work has addressed issues of physicality and virtuality, nature and illusion, the body and the mind and how our changing perception of reality affects our understanding of human identity and relationships. Advanced technology has served as an inspiration and provided the necessary tools to express new interpretations of art and design.
In this presentation, a range of work will be presented from early digital art works involving 3D computer animation, human motion simulation and music videos to current work with innovative laptop design for One Laptop per Child, augmented reality, biosensors and mobile media art and entertainment.