Victoria Vesna will speak in conjunction with an art exhibition opening at UT-Dallas on April 3, entitled Digital Code/Cultural Patterns: Digital Photography, CD-ROM, and WebArt at the End of the Millennium. The exhibition, featuring the work of eleven artists from Texas, California, New York, Minneapolis, and Montreal, Canada, explores the potential of new technology in the arts. The exhibition's Saturday, April 3 opening begins at 6 p.m. in the Conference Center with a lecture by network artist Victoria Vesna. Vesna's presentation, entitled "From Bodies INCorporated to a Community of People with No Time," will feature her design of multi-user VRML websites. A reception in the Visual Arts Gallery at 7 p.m. will follow her talk, and Vesna will also be present in the Gallery from 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. on the same day.


Victoria Vesna, a network artist, has created multi-user environments with VRML (virtual reality markup language). The artist’s collaboration with programmers has resulted in the construction of the complex website Bodies INCorporated. Vesna's site facilitates the creation of images, illusory three-dimensional virtual bodies, and subsequent on-line interaction. The on-line participant enters a password, and then designs, edits, renders, and downloads the virtual body image. A portion of the website permits on-line chat among members of this virtual community while another link provides an index to a catalog of rendered bodies, or new electronic identities. Vesna uses the structure of the corporation as a model for her interactive site. Through her artwork she comments on the relationships between art and society, in the context of new technology:


Bodies© INCorporated is an investigation into social psychology and group dynamics, actualized in corporate structure. It is a collaborative project on many levels, from the team of artists implementing it, to the actively participating audience attempting to gain shares in the body of work. At surface, Bodies INCorporated is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on some of the more obvious contradictions of corporate culture, particularly for those working with art and technology. At a deeper level, Bodies INCorporated addresses such issues as the legitimacy of cultural institutions as the only socially sanctioned site for display of art, and the ways in which structures of physical and ephemeral spaces effect our collectively embodied behaviour. From within computer networks we constantly project our selves, and play complicated identity survival games. --Victoria Vesna

Vesna is an associate professor in the Department of Art Studio/Department of Art History at the University of California Santa Barbara. She also serves as Director of the Experiments in Art and Technology Lab at UCSB. Among her works are interactive installations of Bodies INCorporated at the Venice Biennale in Italy, at SIGGRAPH '96, the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, and at the San Francisco Art Institute in California. Her site-specific installations include Dublin Bodies, created for the Art House in Dublin, Ireland and Los Angeles Bodies at the Barnsdall Municipal Gallery in Los Angeles, California.

Vesna's recent publications include "Buckminster Fuller: Illusive Mutant Artist" in Artbyte, and "Another Day in Paradise and Virtual Concrete: Preserved Palms, Concrete and Telepresence" in Leonardo. She has also directed software titles such as "Life in the Universe with Stephen Hawking." She is a recipient of numerous research grants and honors, including the 1998 Oscar Signorini Award.