Battlefield Torture, Climate Change, and Immersive Narrative - EVL presents two provocative new artworks

June 17th, 2014 - July 7th, 2014

Categories: Multimedia, VR, VR Art

“Hearts and Minds” in the CAVE2™
“Hearts and Minds” in the CAVE2™


Tuesday, June 17th, 3-5 PM
Monday, July 7th, 4-6 PM

The Electronic Visualization Lab (EVL) at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) is pleased to present two new artworks made for the CAVE2™ and Cyber-Commons tiled display system. The projects were produced through a unique collaboration between EVL faculty and staff, and visiting artists from Philadelphia and Norway.

Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project is a 3D narrative experience made for the affective sensory environment of the EVL’s CAVE2 that gives voice to stories of violence and the post-traumatic stress experienced by ordinary American soldiers who became torturers in the course of serving their country. During the American-led counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaigns in Iraq in the years after September 11, 2001, the torture and abuse of detainees was a commonplace tactic. Hearts and Minds: the Interrogations Project is based on interviews of American soldiers conducted by Dr. John Tsukayama. Viewers travel through the domestic spaces and surreal interior landscapes of soldiers who have come home transformed by these experiences, triggering their testimonies by interacting with objects laden with loss.

Hearts and Minds is developed by a team including filmmaker Roderick Coover, writer Scott Rettberg, artist and visualization researcher Daria Tsoupikova, computer scientist Arthur Nishimoto, sound designer Mark Partridge, production assistant Mark Baratta, and senior research programmer Lance Long. Dr. Jeffrey Stevenson Murer of St. Andrews University, Scotland also contributed as a consultant on the project. EVL, the UIC Department of Art and Design, Temple University, and the Norwegian Research Council supported the development of the project.

Toxi*City is a combinatory climate change narrative that generates a new feature-length film each time it is shown. Seven people struggle to survive after hurricanes and toxic events have devastated Philadelphia and New Jersey. These speculative stories of life in a post-industrial wasteland are set against the true stories of deaths from Hurricane Sandy in an algorithmic symphony of contemporary despair. Toxi*City was produced by Roderick Coover, Scott Rettberg, and collaborators, and supported by Temple University, the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, and the Norwegian Research Council. A preview of Toxi*City is available online:

These events have been organized by the EVL, Department of Art and Design, and the Electronic Literature Organization.

Both events are free and open to the public. Each of the two projects takes about 50 minutes to experience fully. Because space in the CAVE2 is limited, reservations are required and we will only be able to accommodate 40 visitors per showing.

Directions to EVL

Roderick Coover b. 1967 is Director of the Graduate Program in Film and Media Arts at Temple University. Coover makes films, interactive cinema, installations and webworks. Some of his latest projects include the interactive series Unknown Territories ( about exploration in the American West and the edited book, Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology In The Humanities And Arts (Chicago 2011). A pioneer in interactive documentary arts and poetics, his works are distributed through Video Data Bank, DER, Eastgate Systems and elsewhere. His creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues including SIGGRAPH, Documenta Madrid, The American Philosophical Society Museum, Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, and elsewhere. Learn more about his work.

Scott Rettberg b. 1970 is Professor of Digital Culture in the Department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg was the project leader of ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice), an EU- and HERA-funded collaborative research project, and a founder of the Electronic Literature Organization. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, Three Rails Live, Toxi*City and others. His creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues including the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo dell Arti Napoli, Beall Center, the Slought Foundation, The Krannert Art Museum, and elsewhere. Rettberg is a native of the Chicago area and has been resident at UiC while on sabbatical this Spring.

Daria Tsoupikova is an Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design and EVL / UIC. Her research and artwork include development of virtual reality (VR) art projects and networked multi-user exhibitions for VR projection systems, such as the CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment theatre (CAVE™), as well as the design of interactive educational multimedia for children. Her VR research, publications and artwork explore the relationship between the aesthetics of virtual environments, traditional Arts, and the effect of VR aesthetics on the user’s perceptions and emotions. She is interested in applying computer graphics art to various application domains such as educational multimedia and virtual rehabilitation for stroke survivors.