Reactive Virtuality: Time, Space, and Movement in Camille Utterback’s Work

posted by – 09/04/13 @ 2:41pm

Exteroception – one’s sense of self in association with one’s surroundings – is essential to broader understanding of humanity’s engagement with the world. This cleavage between the self and the exoteric provides a spatial context for the perception of reality. Furthermore, this divide facilitates the construction of observable, yet intangible space in time. Many aspects of modernity influence this resulting experience of concurrent observation and inhabitation. Notably, technology’s  evolution has a major impact on humankind, encouraging both astonishment and anxiety. It is impossible to overstate the ubiquity and importance of technology in the modern era. As a result, the history of modern art can be perceived, in part, as a procession of artistic responses to technology’s evolution. Artist Camille Utterback, for example, explores this relationship between self, perception, and technology.

Utterback’s early work, Text Rain consists of a large screen representing letters of the alphabet falling. As the viewer approaches, her silhouette is captured and projected onto the screen, and the falling letters interact with her projected image. The previously disordered and indecipherable letters now begin to make sense as they form lines of Evan Zimroth’s poem, “Talk, You”. By engaging the relation between chaos and humanity, Utterback makes an objective statement about technology, art, and human presence in the contemporary world.

Counterbalancing the use of digital technology as a tool for the creation of traditional art objects, Utterback employs technology as its own medium, making use of its interactive features to expand, challenge, and articulate existing conceptions of art. In doing so, her work not only explores technology’s role in art, but more importantly, technology’s role in the human experience.

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