“Protest ReEmbodied” is an interactive video performance project that gives the participant the opportunity to insert themselves into a virtual protest space and enact participating in a past street protest of their choosing via chroma-keying and a custom computer interface. Participants download the app and create their own studio set up at home and run the project from their webcam enabled computer. Highly stylized video documentation of recent protest movements are combined with the live image of the participant into a video mix which they can see, react to and create in real time. The resultant video, saved to their computer, can then be posted on social media for a further and prolonged engagement with the work and the protest movement. The piece encourages active, physical participation, a co-presence of body and mind in a political space and produces a record that leads to continued interaction.
Gearóid Dolan, aka G-man, is an activist artist from Dublin, Ireland operating out of New York City since 1987 using the brand name screaMachine. Dolan has shown extensively worldwide including The Irish Exhibition of Living Art, Dublin; Arthouse, Dublin; Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; Franklin Furnace, NYC; PS1 MOMA, NYC; Art in General, NYC; The Kitchen, NYC; Moving Image Gallery, NYC; Westbourne Studios, London, Cyberarts Pris Ars Electronica, Austria, New Forms, Vancouver; and many more galleries and festivals around the globe. Five time winner of the NYSCA Film, Media and New Technologies Award amongst others, Dolan has been working on developing ways to interface directly with the public via performances, street interventions and new media works. Their work reflects the social movements of the times, offering an alternative mechanism for the re- broadcasting of the voice of the people, a screaMachine.
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G-man, the amount of effort that went into this clearly shows and translates into how well the project works. I sadly did not have a green/blue screen available to fully immerse myself but I choppily keyed myself into the experience and was able to protest! I know that it being shared online is not the ideal setting for it, with issues such as lighting and backgrounds, but I think this is a fantastic experience to have while being stuck at home. It makes you feel like you are part of a cause and are connected to other people, despite being so disconnected because of the current situation. I appreciate the instructions on the welcome page, they are very descriptive and easy to follow and I like that they never truly go away with the ability to turn them on/off. Since the project does have a few steps to follow, I think it’s great that it’s not just “hey read this..ok that’s it you’re on your own!”
I would only say one thing that could be an easy fix is: I mistakenly clicked on the “Download protest posters there too” since it is underlined and on its own line, it seems like a link that would take me to the images. This made me mistakenly start recording my screen but I was not sure what was happening as I could not see the recording and was only hearing the countdown. Perhaps a different way to emphasize text as opposed to underlines?
Overall, fantastic project. Well thought-out, well executed!
Thanks Nicole. It never occurred to me that you could click unseen buttons behind the intro/splash image, or that anyone might try, but it makes sense that underlines might attract clicks and unfortunate that they lined up with invisible buttons! I’ll fix this in version 2.0.
Have a great Summer!