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Theory: The Simulationists
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The Simulationists: An exhibition, a panel and an evening of performance curated by Claudia Hart, Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey

The Simulationists: An exhibition with cris cheek, Ursula Endlicher, Kurt Hentschlager, Second Front, Alan Sondheim and Student Artists
February 1 - March 23, 2011; Rymer Gallery, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Simulationists: An Evening of Mixed Reality Performance with cris cheek, Ursula Endlicher and Kurt Hentschlager
February 18, 2011; Performance Space, 280 S. Columbus Drive, Room 012, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Mixed-Reality Performance Symposium: with Ghislaine Boddlington, Christopher Salter and performing artists
February 18, 2011; Performance Space, 280 S. Columbus Drive, Room 012, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

THE SIMULATIONISTS: Mixed Reality Performance is an interdisciplinary exhibition exploring the performative expression of presence in our digitally mediated and networked culture. Through gallery performances, physical artifacts, and installed digital media, this interdisciplinary exhibition will address the impact of digital technology, networks, computer code, avatars, and virtual environments on our understanding and expression of embodied performance.

In THE SIMULATIONISTS, artificial realities and real bodies, and in turn, artificial bodies and real environments interpenetrate and transform one another. While The Simulationists may be choreographers, performers, cineaists, writers, engineers, or some imprecise melding between these, they all transform space through the hybridization of digital and physical processes. They are world- builders, trespassers, escape artists, data-bodies, avatar dancers, and poets of code and language.

The exhibition, co-curated by Claudia Hart, Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey, all professors at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will include selected contributions from students and alumni of two of their SAIC studio courses, Live Presence, Technology, Virtual Spaces, and Digital Bodies. The student projects will be shown alongside work by contemporary artists who were studied in the classes and therefore directly influenced students' production.

The purpose of THE SIMULATIONISTS is to draw attention to emerging practices in digitally mediated Mixed Reality Performance, a critically important contemporary field unrepresented both at SAIC and in Chicago, and addressing the necessary mutation of theater, dance, and movement work into forms more appropriate to our contemporary experience. The exhibition also represents an urgent investigation by young artists who are increasingly seeking a vocabulary to express themselves in works that speak from the experience of being a 'native' of digital, networked culture.

Live Presence, Technology, Virtual Spaces, and Digital Bodies are both courses concerned with re-thinking historical live art and body-based practices within contemporary media but do so in very different ways. In Digital Bodies, taught by Claudia Hart, students work with 3-d animation and choreographic techniques to create works that reference and transform avant-garde dance and movement histories. In combination, the courses have deep roots in live art practices and digital technologies and present a range of contemporary approaches to embodied expression. Students in Live Presence, co-taught by Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey, investigate the doubledness of physical and virtual presence in contemporary practice. In this course, students might perform with a projection of their recorded double or before a digital landscape. In the past, students have interpreted computer code as a dance score, performed as avatars in the Second Life on-line world or through a web-cam from a remote location.

HTML Butoh
Ursula Endlicher

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Kurt Hentshlager

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Simulationist: cris cheek, performing,

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greek gods
Patrick Lichty/Second Front

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Red Figure
Alan Sondheim

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Tessa Siddle, MFA 2010

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Cassie Jackson, BFA 2009

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