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Suguru Goto

Augmented Body and Virtual Body

In his performances, the composer, performer, inventor and multimedia artist Suguru Goto links the real world to the artificial online reality of Second Life. He does this at the physical level: the bodily movements of a person in the real world control an avatar in Second Life, while an avatar’s movements guide a human being’s. Goto performs at Club Real #3.

Second Life is a 3D online digital platform created by its residents. Here, each flesh-and-blood human creates a unique virtual identity – an avatar – to inhabit the digital community environment. This contact between the real and the virtual is usually effected through a monitor, keyboard and mouse. In Goto’s work, the whole body takes part; he develops technology that makes communication between the two realities two-way and physical.

A movement-registering mechanism built into the Body Suit allows a person’s movements to directly control the behaviour of an avatar in Second Life. Conversely, the Power Suit contains motors that control the human body like a marionette. It is a sort of robot you can wear, controlled by an avatar.

With this technology, geography, location and space no longer hinder physical interaction between bodies. A Second Life avatar becomes a vehicle for physically connecting the individual to society. This could make it possible for people all over the world with the correct hardware to share each other’s bodies over the Internet.

Goto plays with our perception of an individual’s body as his or her identity. In this project, we do not know exactly who is controlling the Suit or where they are in the world. Our bodies become a combination of ‘real’ and computer-generated information and are thereby improved. Perhaps this could lead to new ways of using our bodies we can discover only by controlling them from outside, through the Internet.

Suguru Goto is viewed as a spokesperson for, and one of the most innovative of, the new generation of Japanese artists.