Marcel.lí Antúnez Roca


The identification system used by theater, movies, literature and art in general is tied up to the description of characters, through which we immerge in their history as spectators. In spite of being physically distant from the character, for a few moments we feel part of him or her. Thus, we make ours the doubt of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s tragedy, or we identify with the madness of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Frequently I think of what would it happen if that identification allowed us to live, from our physical identity, some of those roles. To live those extraordinary stories from within our skin. The Tantal installation contemplates that possibility. Technically, Tantal consists of a device that allows to capture an animated sequence of faces of the spectators who so wish it. Those images are processed by a computer system that joins the captured faces to the bodies that create action in previously prepared films. Those films are projected on a screen. The interface users’ faces become actors through the virtual bodies of the film; the spectator moves from the private range to the public one. The film scenes show random, changing events, that sometimes represent extreme and forbidden actions, others grotesque and ironic. The stories show and criticize some of the themes of the present censorship: the physical violence, the body’s shape and sexuality. Tantal proposes a mechanism that moves us closer to what I call Ephemeral Identities. The ephemeral identities would be those that would allow us to live, in a fleeting way, a new identity; maybe one of another species, maybe an insect, or, why not, a fantastic identity as the Mermaid or simply another human profile. Those new ephemeral identities should propose new experiences, and therefore new forms of knowledge.

Marcel.lí Antúnez Roca (Moià, 1959) is well-known in the international art scene for his mechatronic performances and robotic installations. In the 90’s his vanguardist mechatronic performances combined elements such as Bodybots (body-controlled robots), Systematurgy (interactive narration with computers) and Dresskeleton (the exoskeleton body interface). The themes explored in his work include: the use of biological materials in robotics, as in JoAn? l’home de carn (1992); telematic control on the part of a spectator of an alien body in the performance EPIZOO (1994); the expansion of body movements with dresskeletons (exoskeletical interfaces) in the performances AFASIA (1998) and POL (2002); involuntary choreography with the bodybot, REQUIEM (1999); and microbiological transformations in the installations RINODIGESTIO (1987) and AGAR (1999). He is currently working on the spatial and utopian artwork TRANSPERMIA. In the early 90’s his performance EPIZOO caused a commotion in the international art scene. For the first time a performer’s body movements could be controlled by the audience. By operating a videogame, a spectator interacts with the bodybot worn by Antúnez, moving his buttocks, pectoral muscles, mouth, nose and ears. This performance stresses the ironical, and even cruel, paradox rising from the coexistence between virtual digital iniquity and the performer’s physical vulnerability. Since the 80’s, Antúnez’ work has been based on a continuous observation of how human desires are expressed and in which specific situations they appear. First in the tribal performances of La Fura dels Baus and later, on his own, he expressed this interest by creating complex, in many cases hybrid, systems, hard to classify. Antúnez’ works belong to the fields of both visual and scenic arts. From the early 90’s, the incorporation and transgression of scientific and technological elements in Antúnez’ work, and their interpretation by means of unique and specific devices, have produced a new cosmogony – warm, raw, and ironic – of traditional themes such as affection, identity, or death. In his works these elements take on an extremely human dimension that causes a spontaneous reaction in the audience. He was also a founding member of La Fura dels Baus, he worked in this company as art coordinator, musician and performer from 1979 to 1989, and presented the group’s macro-performances ACCIONS (1984), SUZ/O/SUZ (1985) and TIER MON (1988). Antúnez has presented his work in numerous international venues, including La Fundación Telefónica in Madrid, the P.A.C. in Milan, the Lieu Unique in Nantes, the I.C.A. in London, SOU Kapelica in Ljubljana, Cena Contemporânea in Rio de Janeiro, the Barcelona MACBA and the DOM Cultural Center of Moscow. He has performed at the International Festivals EMAF Osnabruc Germany, Muu Media Festival Helsinki, Noveaux Cinema Noveaux Medias Montreal, DEAF Rotterdam, Spiel Art Munich, Ars Electronica Linz Austria, DAF Tokyo Japan, among others. Antúnez’ work has appeared in the following publications: Il Corpo Postorganico, by Teresa Macrì, ed. Costa & Nolan Milano; Body Art and Performances, by Lea Vergine, ed. Skira, London; Marcel.lí Antúnez Roca performances, objetos y dibujos, by Claudia Giannetti, ed. MECAD Barcelona; and the catalogue Epifania published by Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, among others. Antúnez has received the following awards and distinctions: First Prize at the Festival Étrange, Paris 1994; Best New Media Noveaux Cinéma Noveaux Médias Montreal 1999; Max New Theatre award, Spain 2001; FAD Award Barcelona 2001; Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2003 and Premi Ciutat Barcelona 2004, multimedia.