Pussy Weevil is a screen-based installation of an individual software persona, a 2D animated character, who reacts to the viewer's distance or proximity. Pussy Weevil's behaviors respond to certain parameters that define its characteristics; Pussy Weevil reacts to the viewer's position, which influences how the character acts and behaves. The piece involves choreography in space and deals with subject / object relationships vis-a-vis the viewer. Pussy Weevil variously ignores you, derides you, or runs away in fright.
Pussy Weevil was created in early 2003, at the brink of our invasion of Iraq.
He is very much a response to George Bush, functioning both as a parody of his
inarticulate displays of bravura, and as an avatar of my own speechless frustration.
His prelinguistic behaviors are horribly familiar: Pussy Weevil is pure Id. He
is a proto-Tex-Avery character, whose form is malleable and virtually indestructible.
He mutates, splits, spits, and glitches; as an immediate object of a viewer's
interventions, he never finds a middle ground between dark heckling and pitiful
fear. Pussy Weevil lives in the zone of biologically hazardous materials - or
maybe he’s only a danger to himself. He might be just a sorrowful, botched
genetic experiment that has about as much sense as a dull, reactive house pet.
Pussy Weevil drew from character development and narrative inquiry in
several contexts: the animated cartoon, the physical object, and interactive
Weevil questions how digital characters can be affected by interactions in analog
spaces and examines the relationship between the real and computer made worlds.
Ars Electronica, "Hybrid Creatures" 2005
UK December 2004-January 2005
Bitforms Gallery, NYC May-June 2003
Art Interactive, Cambridge, MA July-October 2003
American Museum of the Moving Image 2003-2004
For specifications and exhibition and sales information, click
Pussy Weevil is an installation art-technology piece consisting of a flat-screen
monitor embedded in a wall or pedestal, ultrasonic proximity sensors, microcontroller,
custom interface and control software, and a computer running Macromedia
Flash animations and ActionScript.
The demonstration provided is full interactive and allows one to see the
various Pussy Weevil modalities. The three proximity "zones" - close, near,
far away - allow you to see how Pussy Weevil would react based on a visitor's
distance from the installation.
-> click here for the demonstration
-> still documentation from the installation
at Ars Electronica (Linz. Austria) 2005
-> quicktime documentation from the installation
at FACT (Liverpool, UK) 2004-05
-> quicktime documentation from
the installation at The Museum of the Moving Image (New York) 2003-04
-> quicktime movie of selections of Pussy Weevil's behaviors
-> a poster documenting the
behaviors of the Pussy Weevil
-> documentation images
from the installation at FACT
Julian Bleecker has long been involved in technology design, both the development
work involved in building mobile and networked systems, and in his work to
produce provocative human-machine entanglements. His work emphasizes expanding
conventional understandings of technology, networks, public space, and mobility
in order to engage broad social dialogues about technology and cultural change.
His work and writing has appeared in many venues including Wired, Afterimage,
Whitney Museum of American Art's Artport, American Museum of the Moving
Image, Bitforms Gallery, Walker Art Center, and more. His essay on SimCity
2000, "Urban Crisis: Past Present and Virtual" was
recently translated into Italian for an edited volume commemorating the 15th
Anniversary of that game.
He is also a professional mobile and wireless technology consultant, and
is on the faculty of the Design and Technology Department at Parsons School
of Design and writes and lectures on technology and culture. He has a BS
in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and an MS in Engineering
(Computer-Human Interaction) from the University of Washington, Seattle.
He is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz's History
of Consciousness Board of Studies. His dissertation is about the the ways
in which technologies of visualization construct representations of reality
Marina Zurkow is a multidisciplinary artist who works with character, icon, and narrative in several forms: animated works, interactive installations, graphic images, and home/body wear.
In 2004, Zurkow completed a seven channel, multi-linear animated installation, žNicking the Never,Ó which was first presented as a work-in-progress at The Kitchen in New York, May 2004.
Other recent projects include the award-winning animated episodic žBraingirl,Ó that chronicles a mutant-cute girl who wears her insides on the outside; žPDPal,Ó a mapping application/ installation for screen, web and mobile devices that allows a user to žwrite her own city,Ó in collaboration with architect Scott Paterson and technologist Julian Bleecker; and žPussy Weevil, or How I Learned to Love the War,Ó a vile, interactive, animated persona. ZurkowŪs icons and characters have been incorporated into diverse projects, from animated films to hotel design, lightboxes and clothing.
ZurkowŪs work has been exhibited at the Sundance Film Festival, the Rotterdam Film Festival, Ars Electronica, the Walker Art Center, the Brooklyn Museum, SFMoMA, Eyebeam Atelier, Totem Design and bitforms gallery, and broadcast on MTV and PBS. Zurkow was a 2003 Rockefeller New Media Fellow, and received grants in 2001-2002 from Creative Capital Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and the Walker Art Center. She is an adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design in the MFA Design & Technology Department.
After attending Barnard College, Zurkow received a BFA with honors in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts, where she also received the Silas Rhodes Award for Outstanding Achievement. She was born in New York City and resides in Brooklyn.
©2003 Marina Zurkow & Julian Bleecker