Simon Senn purchased the digital copy of a female body online, then embarked on a quest to meet the woman whose body he would go on to inhabit thanks to virtual reality. He takes to the stage to share his uncanny experience.
“WHAT CAN THIS BODY DO?
I bought a digital replica of a female body on the website www.3dscanstore. com for $12. The file contained a static, photorealistic representation in three dimensions of the naked body of a young woman. I used a free online tool to give her digital bones; this enabled me to get her moving. With the help of several Internet users around the world that I met online, I developed an immersive motion capture system. I bought a set of virtual reality equipment, including sensors, designed for playing video games. I positioned the sensors on my body, put on the virtual reality headset, and ‘became’ this young woman.
“After this disturbing experience, I looked up the woman on social media by using the hashtag #3dscanstore. I discovered a selfie she had posted at the time the scan was done. I contacted her and suggested we meet. She accepted. I went to her home in England and filmed our meeting. We decided to call her Arielle.”
Due to the large request, Simon Senn‘s Be Arielle F. performance will be replicated on Friday 11 at 10 pm. To purchase tickets click here.
Simon Senn, born in 1986, is a videographer and visual artist and lives in Geneva. He has completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the HEAD in Geneva (Haute école d’art et de design) and a Masters at Goldsmiths College in London. At first sight, Simon Senn’s work sometimes gives the impression that he is a socially engaged artist speaking out against a certain type of injustice. However, his work reveals a more ambiguous approach. Even though to a certain extent it is primarily based on reality, there is always a layer of fiction that is interposed.
He has exhibited at the Liverpool Biennial, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the Kunstmuseum Bern, and has won several prizes including the Swiss Performance Art Award, Swiss Art Award, and the Kiefer Hablitzel Award.
concept and direction Simon Senn
with Simon Senn; Arielle F. and a virtual body
production Compagnie Simon Senn
coproduction Théâtre Vidy–Lausanne Le Grütli, Centre de production et de diffusion des Arts vivants Théâtre du Loup
distribution and touring Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
with the support of Fondation suisse pour la culture Pro Helvetia; Fondation Ernst Göhner; Pour-cent culturel Migros; Porosus
a working version of the performance came second at the PREMIO awards
for encouraging performing arts, which was held on Saturday 18 May 2019
at the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
Notes on Short Theatre 2020
What else is your work about, besides what is already told in the synopsis?
Who or what—real or imaginary, present, past or future—do you think contributed to the creation of this work? Is there any object/trace you own that can make this clear?
Two years ago, I was a lot into running. I was really enjoying being in motion all the time. One day I discovered virtual reality trackers. With them I can move in the physical space and then, simultaneously, something moves in a virtual space. I was instantly seduced by the endless, unknown and strange possibilities it offers.
What do you imagine you will say about this work in fifteen years time? Would you ever have imagined making such work fifteen years ago?
I think this project is really close to who I am so I guess either fifteen years ago or in the future I don’t think I’d say or think anything different about it.