Metabody Reviews and Citations

"MERLIN Integrated Media's interactive CD-ROM, Metabody, documents one of the most interesting collaborations to occur in Australia last year between Stelarc, MERLIN and Mic Gruchy, which included an 'electrifying' live world wide internet performance at Artspace last April. This interactive is encyclopedic, ranging from Stelarc's hook suspensions to the direct wiring up of the audience. It is the snapshot of a career, but has built in the ability - via an internet connection - to not only update but also extend the means by which the audience may participate".
Mike Leggett in Techne Cultures,
#21, National Arts Magazine,
April-May, 1997, p 21
"In Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, Janet Murray identifies four principal properties "which separately and collectively make (the computer) a powerful vehicle for literary creation. Digital environments are procedural, participatory, spatial and encyclopedic. The first two properties make up most of what we mean by the vaguely used word interactive; the remaining two properties help to make digital creations seem as explorable and extensive as the actual world, making up much of what we mean when we say that cyberspace is immersive".

Using as its foundation the work of performance artist Stelarc, Metabody explores digital self-representation and the human-machine interface by examining golems, robots, automata and cyborgs - past, present and future.

"The computer is not fundamentally a wire or pathway", says Murray, "but an engine. It was designed not to carry static information but to embody complex, contingent behaviours". Metabody is procedural because it is, above all, besotted with the rules through which one might create a digital being.

"Procedural environments are appealing to us not just because they exhibit rule-generated behaviour", writes Murray, "but because we can induce the behaviour. They are responsive to our input". In other words, they invite participation. On every level Metabody invites us to participate in the ongoing creation of meaning: constructing our own 3D golems; uploading them to a website where they are grafted onto an evolving assemblage; exploring the relationship between the sovereign individual and the collective democracy of the internet.

"The new digital environments are characterised by their power to represent navigable space". Metabody uses VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language) to represent not just the 3D avatars or golems but the spatial relationships between avatars and the world they inhabit.

Digital environments are encyclopedic: simultaneously offering and inducing the expectation of infinite resources. Metabody is dense and coherent: its images, texts, audio and digital video working in concert to invite us to explore the present, reflect upon the past, and attempt to imagine the future.

In all these ways, Metabody is exemplary in mapping out the territory that, inevitably, we must explore over the next few years: 3D space, the human-computer interface, digital representation via avatars, and the integration of CD-ROM and internet."
Jonathon Delacour,
, in RealTime #23, National Arts Magazine,
October-November, 1997 p 23.

Metabody CD ROM: Some exhibitions and citations as at 1.99


Cybercultures, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, March 1997.
ISEA97 (The Eighth International Symposium on Electronic Art), Chicago, September 1997.
RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, September 1997.
Digital Storytelling Conference, Buffalo, October 1997.
CCP/emedia exhibit, Melbourne, June 1998.


AFC Multimedia Catalogue, Sydney, 1998.
Artspace, Sydney, 1997 exhibition program.
Artforce #90, (Newsletter of the Australia Council), Sydney, Spring 1997, by Mike Leggett, p. 8. RealTime #18, p. 21, Metabody review at Cybercultures exhibition, April 1997.
Sydney Morning Herald, Icon Supplement, Sydney, September 6, 1997.
Stelarc, Parasite Visions: Alternate, Intimate and Involuntary Experiences, in Armstrong, Rachel, (ed), Sci-Fi Aesthetics, Profile No. 56, Art and Design Magazine, Academy, London 1997.
RealTime #21, p. 23, Metabody review , by Jonathon Delacour, Sydney, October 1997.
Embodying the Information Age, The New Media Arts Fund of the Australia Council, Sydney, February 1998.
Computers & Texts 16/17 (1998) Live Art Archive, Nottingham Trent University, Review by Barry Smith, UK, 13 January 1999.

Selected Gallery and Institutional Purchases

Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, San Francisco.
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.
University of Western Sydney.
College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Griffith Artworks, Griffith University, Brisbane.
University of Surrey, UK. Scoles Library, NYS College, NY.

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