A bizarre mixture of performance and installation. That is the
interactive work Epizoo with which artist Marcel.Lí Antúnez Roca
submits himself to the whims of the audience. Computer graphics, sounds
and all kinds of movements of the artist are being controlled by a
mighty viewer behind a video monitor with touch screen. Like a living
sculpture, Antúnez Roca places himself on a wooden platform.
Pneumatically movable mechanisms are connected to nose, mouth, ears,
glutea and pectora. The audience is standing around the Spaniard while
one of them is going to give pain or pleasure to the body draped in
technology for the next couple of minutes. A promotion video shows what
can happen, since each session results in different sounds, movements
and images. It is enough to move a finger over the monitor. It shows an
electronic representation of Antúnez Roca's body, placed in a yellow
halo or as a little kicking body under an enormous head. The image on
the monitor is also projected onto the wall so that everybody can see
what happens. The person at the touch screen has started a rhythmical
synthesizer sound. Antúnez Roca's virtual abdomen turns around and a
pair of gigantic buttocks comes into view. Without mercy, the person at
the screen lets an electronic knife hack into it. On the wooden
platform, Antúnez Roca's flesh moves just as intensely.
gentler options as well. A virtual dog's wet tongue caresses pectorals
of flesh and blood. But when attributes like pincers and a pair of
scissors start on Antúnez Roca's nipples, he wriggles in strange
convolutions. Now it's the turn of the head. Antúnez Roca's mouth, nose
and ears display an extreme flexibility when they are pulled every
which way in a series of bizarre grimaces. Pressure on the forehead is
apparently painful because the artist starts screaming loudly. All
lights are extinguished and burning gases spout from his head. Then, a
moment of tranquility, before the next spectator's turn comes up.
1984, the visual artist Marcel.Lí Antúnez Roca founded the provocating
and innovating performance company La Fura dels Baus. For the last five
years he has worked on his own. Amongst other things, he designed a
robot partially made of flesh, and made sculptures from the remains of
slaughtered pigs. Just like Epizoo, pieces that often repel the
audience. But the artist is concerned with more than a simple shock
effect. In the 'European Magazine' he says: It creates an ethical
dilemma, because you are manipulating a human being and actually
causing pain. In Mexico a couple of people turned off the computer,
because they disapproved so strongly. I am not a sadomasochist. There
are more important issues at work: the depersonalisation of human
relationships, the blurred boundary between sex and power, and the use
of computers as instruments of control.
from the report Audience manipulates body.
Epizoo performed during DEAF 95:
Epizoo by Marcel.Lí Antúnez Roca (1995) from V2_ on Vimeo.