pr!ck (2006-2008)

Marlena Novak and Jay Alan Yim in collaboration with Ian Horswill

pr!ck uses interactive technologies to explore the mating behavior of hermaphroditic flatworms, touching on notions of selfhood and gender identity. We became fascinated with a species of Australian marine flatworm, because its reproductive strategy seemed to thrust into the foreground issues connected to conflict resolution, dominance, and power. For this movement, we invited Ian Horswill to be a guest member of localStyle.

Being both male and female is not unique in the animal kingdom, but what _is_ unusual is that they only have male organs. Their courtship dance is thus more like a duel/wrestling match, with each trying to pierce the other one's body, somewhere. Anywhere. The winner is then de facto the father and the (wounded) loser is de facto the mother. Our abstracted, 'sculptural' development of the flatworm theme also incorporates the political symbolism of Red versus Blue (which happens to be inverted in Europe (Blue=conservative)) and the deliberate pacing and experience of our piece is less brutal than Nature's model.

The IR system gathers data on the number of visitors, their positions, and their movement in the installation space. This data is fed to Ian's custom Meta programming environment and while the audience cannot directly control the actions of either creature—they are more like wild animals than puppets—how they move becomes a factor influencing the behavior.