How to Explain Love to a Tape Measure (2016)

Single-channel video, 16:9, 8 minutes 28 seconds

 

Evoking at once the nature documentary and the peep show, How to Explain Love to a Tape Measure (2016) is a series of machinima vignettes featuring amorphous, geometric forms interacting within the Second Life environment. In “The Gendered Body in Virtual Space: Sexuality, Performance and Play in Four Second Life Spaces,” Jude Elund observes that even “within potentially subversive spaces, there is a normativity that persists which reiterates the ideological foundations of identity that are historically and culturally ascribed to.” By reconfiguring and repurposing existing Second Life environments, animations, and models, HELTM subverts expectations of normative identity to open up a broader dialogue surrounding intimacy and subjecthood within virtual environments.

 

In HELTM, Eyler assumes the identity of, at times, one, and at others, many, flexible, geometric bodies. While some are highly camouflaged to mimic the surrounding fauna, others are skinned in raw materials, such as plaster, marble, and paper. Having effaced her human avatar, the artist rebuilds her virtual identity by attaching these seemingly autonomous entities to different parts of her form and then animating them with scripts purchased in the Second Life marketplace. Reflecting the abundance of “adult” themed material in Second Life, the animations themselves are primarily sexual in nature, ranging from masturbation to aggressive intercourse. At times, the forms appear to engage in an Absurdist dance, their clumsy exterior forms contrasting with their graceful undulations. In so doing, HELTM probes issues surrounding technologically-mediated intimacy while at the same time functioning as both artifact and love letter to an imagined digital future.