Diana Domingues (Brazil)


Trans-E: My Body, My Blood is an interactive environment in that simulates a cavern.
Visitors control images on the walls by moving on a carpet embedded with sensors.
Where the visitors are situated, how long they stand there, and how many visitors are in the space all affect the projected visuals. The installation has three stages, intended to mirror the stages of a shamanistic trance.
At the first stage is a level in which only abstract imagery is depicted. During the second stage, symbolic imagery, such as crosses, chalices, lilies, and snakes, is introduced. The third stage corresponds to the deepest level of shamanistic trance, and fast-paced imagery that directly confronts the visitor is developed here- animal attacks, volcano eruptions, and other similar phenomena.

Diana Domingues is an artist, professor and researcher at the University of Caxias do Sul in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
She conducts research in art and technology with the financial support of CNPq and FAPERGS. The current project Art, Technology and Communication: Creation and Interactivity is developed by the Novas Technologias Nas Artes Visuais group, which connects professors and students working in the fields of arts, communication, philosophy, and industrial automation. The investigation explores the artistic and aesthetic dimension of the technologies through electronic processing of signals, computer animations, interfaces, sensorized systems, neural networks, interactive installations, web art, and robotics events. Recently, Domingues has completed a new interactive installation entitled In sn(h)ak(r)es, and presented a paper “Interactivity and Ritual: Body Dialogues with Artificial Systems” at SIGGRAPH ’99 in Los Angeles. Domingues is particularly interested in the symbiosis of biological and artificial bodies possible with the implementation of interactive systems.


“In my interactive artistic works, I deal with creation at vital and visceral levels with mathematical language, with physical and biological phenomena in a mixture of natural, artificial, and virtual technologic. I offer interfaces for the body which permit to get to simulated worlds increasing our body’s condition. I provoke structural copulas, in a biologic and technological context, where the body’s behavior and the system’s behavior give responses and regenerate themselves.”

Critical Text:

Trans-E is a work that composites ancient ritual and high technology. This type of fusion is a practice rising to prominence within contemporary art. When the means of controlling and access the work are transparent, the result is often a profound freedom on the part of the visitor to use technology to access the content. Domingues’s concern with Trans-E is to make the visitor a performer, working in tandem with the installation. If one considers Trans-E to be like an organism, with its own personality and motives, it is very much like a duet between user and installation. Interactive installations such as Trans-E offer the user an opportunity to physically relate to the message of a work, rather than merely absorb the visual information offered.

Trans-E is meant to be a personality supported by technology, not technology imbued with a small ration of personality. Trans-E has the capability to allow a user to feel as though they are substantiating a relationship by manipulating the installation. This construction of a relationship is critical, as it breaks the old boundaries between work and viewer. Works that relate to viewers only on a visual level remain objectified and merely an object of contemplation. If the viewers extend their role to that of the participants and negotiate a unique path through the work, they elevate their experience to a relationship where information is shared for common gain.

The subject matter of shamanic trance also affords the user an opportunity for insight into a state that goes beyond the visual. Shamanic trance incorporates all senses and provides a dramatic emotional experience. By giving visitors an opportunity to truly engage with Trans-E, Domingues stays true to the essential ingredients for trance: immersion and emotional engagement.

Critical text by Michelle Kasprzak