“In 2015, I taught the class VIRTUAL INSTALLATION to a diverse group of graduate and advanced undergraduate students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I proposed that they think of this abstract concept as an augmented-reality experience. We enacted the idea as a group project: THE ROMANTIC APP. It superimposed an exhibition of moving-image artworks created by young artists, floating over the canonical painting collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.
In Chicago, the 19th and early 20th-century painting collection provided a significant learning opportunity and also created a profound content and context for a collective artwork by both my students and I – acting in the capacity of curator and creative director. I described our historical condition as one of standing on the threshold of a digital age, just as the Impressionists and the related movements of that earlier time – from Manet, Corot, and the Pre-Raphaelite resistance, until Seurat and Matisse stood on the threshold of the age of mechanization and photography (Walter Benjamin, 1937). I thought of us all as standing on the shoulders of the masters of French Realism and Impressionism, both in conversation and collaboration with them. What we produced in 2015 was THE ROMANTIC (https://romanticapp.tumblr.com/
), and CHANNELING MEDUSA was an augment for that app, using Antonio Canova’s sculpture, the Head of Medusa (1801, and a hero of Pre-Raphaelite realism) as a trackable. Looking through the camera of one’s smart device, using THE ROMANTIC APP, one can catch a glimpse of me in the form of an antiqued sleeping selfie, shot in my editing room at the School of the Art Institute, and then projected back onto on my own digital version of Canova’s Medusa – the symbol of all things feminine, of the queen, and a form of the Greek word metis – feminine wile – that classical mythological gods strove to obtain.“