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MEMEX Rokeby

13 May-21 Jun 2003

A Cyborg Pilgrimage in the Age of Amnesia is a new work commissioned by inIVA and supported by The Moose Foundation for the Arts.

Through the MEMEX project, interactive artist Rokeby turns himself into a cyborg, equipped with a wearable computer, a digital camera, a portable brainwave monitor and a global positioning system tracking his precise geographical location.

Starting at the Greenwich Meridian Line, the cyborg commences a forty-day pilgrimage across London in search of the sacred, the spiritual and a sense of self.

Certain destinations of spiritual significance – such as the Peckham estate where schoolboy Damilola Taylor was murdered and the sites of the 1999 nail bombings in Brixton and Soho – are predetermined, but there is no fixed route or final destination.

As such, the cyborg is a blank canvas open to suggestions from an interactive audience who, via a website, can map out his journey and suggest sites for him to visit. Just as Aboriginal ancestors travelled the country scattering a trail of songlines and dreaming tracks in the wake of their footprints, so the cyborg extends his earthbound journey into the virtual domain by creating a song map.

Still images, video and electrical signals from his brain will be converted into music and broadcast in cyberspace, as a virtual manifestation of a physical pilgrimage.

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