Inside the Flower Matrix
(single channel exhibited as 3 channels, each offset by 2,5 minutes, accompanied by an Oculus Rift VR experience)
3 Channel, 10 min movie, computer, software, VR headset, 2016 © the artist
The Flower Matrix is a mixed reality work combining a 3-channel 3D-animation installation and an Oculus touch VR world, with music composed by Edmund Campion, cello improvisations by Danielle DeGruttola, and vocals by Claudia Hart and Mikey McParlane.
Inside the Flower Matrix is a part of Claudia Hart’s Alice World, reinterpreting the Lewis Carroll paradigm as a labyrinth. Inside the Flower Matrix envisions Wonderland as the Interweb, covered by flashing emoji, the icons for power, money, addiction and control. Hart’s Internet is commercial strip way, the enactment of Casino Capitalism but at the same time, paradoxically, also a metaphor for a model of the mind and a site of transformation.
The Flower Matrix is specifically modeled after the ancient Roman mythological labyrinth of the Minotaur, an endless maze from which there is no escape. Hart has created a game world covered with pulsing graphical patterns made from emoji, and also from symbolic computer language and public signage icons, conjoined in animated patterns that throb and pulse hypnotically. Also inside the Flower Matrix are five original species of fantastical flowers designed by Hart and covered with the same pulsing patterns, randomly growing and decaying. This is an environment portraying an esthetic of fakeness where technology has replaced nature, both sugary sweet and chemically toxic in equal measures.
Claudia Hart emerged as part of a generation of 90s intermedia artists examining issues of identity and representation. Since the late 90s when she began working with 3D animation, Hart embraced these same concepts, but now focusing on the impact of computing and simulations technologies. She was an early adopter of virtual imaging, using 3D animation to make media installations and projections, and later as they were invented, other forms of VR, AR and objects produced by computer-driven production machines. At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is a Professor, she developed a pedagogic program based on her practice - Experimental 3D - the first dedicated solely to teaching simulations technologies in an art-school context.
Hart’s works are widely exhibited and collected by galleries and museums including the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum, the National Gallery, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, and the Albertina Museum, Vienna. Her work has been shown at the New Museum, produced at the Eyebeam Center for Art + Technology, where she was an honorary fellow in 2013-14, and at the Center for New Music and Audio Technology, UC California, Berkeley where she is currently a fellow.