The Institute for Interanimation is a space for research and artistic work focused on the interplay between new technologies and human experience. ii was formed by Mona Kasra and Peter Bussigel at the University of Virginia in 2016 and it continues as a loose collective of artists, builders, theorists, performers, and technologists. ii projects are called phases. We are currently in phase 4.
We find ourselves in a complex moment. The optimism around digital technology that was prevalent in the 80s, and in waves since, has been appropriated by the control structures of output and efficiency. The promise of free thought, anonymity, and the fluid identity has become a complicated tangle of corporate influence, information mining, and gatekeeping. The Institute for Interanimation aspires to be a home for those exploring the potential of the digital realm as spectacle and as a tool for social and cultural movement. Created to support systems that are ambiguous, complicated, and difficult, ii designs creative interfaces with which people are invited to examine their role in/with our ubiquitous technoculture.
Interanimation is an open navigation of the unpredictable and forever shifting thresholds between our real and virtual lives, including the confusions generated by these overlapping modes of liveness. Here, the word ‘live’ has a double meaning—to be alive and to be performing live. Today’s new media technologies urge us to reconsider both meanings. Immersive technologies, surveillance media, and new sensing systems not only shift our performance stages but they also continually affect what it means to be human, framing how we think and act. New media installation and performance are adept at exploring the intersections and overlaps between these modes of liveness, combining technological perspectives (A.I., virtual reality, augmented life) and cultural perspectives (community, poetics, entertainment).
Merriam Webster defines “interanimate” as “to animate mutually,” and that simple definition guides our thinking and making. In a concrete sense, interanimation happens when multiple bodies are in-motion together—human bodies, virtual bodies, technological bodies. It appeals to a continual shifting or reconsideration (of identity, of a ‘piece’, of value systems in general). In creating new tools and technical systems, we change, and as we change, our tools and systems evolve and transform as well. The Institute for Interanimation seeks to foreground this change, to embrace the mutual animation between the performer and instrument, user and interface, human and institute.