Better than Universe catalog excerpt, curated by Yoo Jinsang, 2013-14,
at the Dague Media Art / ZKM collaborative space in Dague, Korea. 

On Synchronics: Song of the Avatars, 2013

A collaborative artwork created by Claudia  Hart with 24 alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, music by Peter Kusek with sound design by Mikey McParlane and Claudia Hart

On Synchronics: Song of the Avatars was funded by The Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Like a technological fairy tale, On Synchronics: Song of the Avatars envisions a giant in the form of a digital body spanning the globe. This body is both collective and international as it has been interpreted and reinterpreted by 24 voices from around the world, current and former students of Claudia Hart, contemporary media artist and professor of Experimental Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

To create the work, Hart gave digital files produced for her work Dark kNight to former students and asked them to participate in a game of exquisite cadaver. She proposed that they use her movement files to animate their own characters imagined as attempting to break out of an imprisoning computer into the real world. Hart created the animation by using "rag doll" technology, a process used by the gaming industry for first-person "shooter" games when simulating the death throes of dying figures.

In both Hart's prototype animation and the longer collaborative exquisite cadaver work that resulted, a virtual character attempts to break through the computer screen. It is inspired by an historic work from the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo's marble Slaves - unfinished sculptures portraying an agonized figure emerging from the confines of the "hacked" marble material. Like the Michelangelo figures, On Synchronics avatars struggle to preserve their autonomy and in so doing, discover their humanity in a crudely commercial contemporary world that is all too often alienating, media saturated and unnervingly technological.

To do this, On Synchronics: Song of the Avatars brings together different ideas about individual identity -expressed by animation, video and live performance -- into a patchwork quilt created by 24 distinct artistic voices. Each artist's interpretation mutates fluidly, one to the next, across a continuous movement sequence. Many individual characters therefore merge into a single global body, performing one unified, poetic choreography in which a digital avatar heroically wrestles to escape the safety of the systematic into the unpredictable flow of the real.


Nadav Assor, Israel
MFA, ATS 2011

Sophie Barrett-Kahn, England/Australia
MFA, ATS 2013

Rhys Bevan, USA
BFA, 2011

Lauren Elder, USA
BFA 2012

André and Evan Lenox
BFA 2012

Miao Jiaxin , China
MFA, Photo 2011
Lantian Xie, Dubai/China

Brookhart Jonquil, USA
MFA, ATS 2011
Yara Travesio, USA/Cuba

Brian Khek, USA
BFA 2012

Peter Kusek, USA

Michael Mallis, USA

Mikey McParlane, USA

Shane Mecklenburger, USA

Harold Moss, USA
Negin Sharifzadeh, IRAN
BFA 2008

Katie Torn, USA

Diana Torres, Columbia

Nancy Tien, USA/Taiwan
MFA, Performance 2011
Wesley Wilson, USA
MFA, ATS 2011

Yefeng Wang, China
MFA, ATS 2012

Jason Williams, USA
BFA, 2013

Jihoon Yoo, Korea
MFA, ATS 2012

Vicky Yen, Taiwan