ATOM-R: THE BREAKING WHEEL
ANATOMICAL THEATRES OF MIXED REALITY / MARK JEFFERY, JUDD MORRISSEY, JUSTIN DESCHAMPS, SAM HERTZ, CHRISTOPHER KNOWLTON & BLAKE RUSSELL
“atom-r: The Breaking Wheel” is a durational live installation that engages histories of forensics and anatomical science, placing the crudeness of early surgery in relation to the 21st century vision of a body enhanced by data and augmented by computation. The choreographic work is performed in relation to a modular architectural form consisting of a six-foot-long interactive operating table and four large wooden leaves. When assembled, the five pieces form a 14’ x 10’ performance surface resembling a banquet table with openings for the insertion of bodies and protrusion of body parts. The central operating table contains an embedded interactive screen that generates surgically-parsed visual texts (in response to a series of custom-designed, printed codes) that are simultaneously displayed as a larger projection.
Adapted from a more extensive work-in-progress, “atom-r: The Breaking Wheel” was enacted as a site-specific performance for Opening The Black Box, an exhibition addressing and memorializing reported cases of torture by Chicago police. For the context, the work incorporated choreographic and textual responses to the archives of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials project, an essay on solitary confinement as “slow-motion torture,” and descriptions of the apparatus at the core of Kafka’s short story, “In the Penal Colony.” Coinciding with the winter solstice on December 21, 2012, the work used a 101-minute slow durational structure, beginning at sunset and ending at nautical twilight, to create a ceremonial homage to the broken body.