Becoming Dragon, 2008
digital prints, digital video, 3:00 min
Becoming Dragon questions the one-year requirement of ‘Real Life Experience’ that transgender people must fulfill in order to receive Gender Confirmation Surgery, and asks if this could be replaced by one year of ‘Second Life Experience’ to lead to Species Reassignment Surgery. For the performance, cárdenas lived for 365 hours immersed in the online 3D environment of Second Life with a head mounted display, only seeing the physical world through a video feed, and used a motion capture system to map her movements into Second Life. The installation included a stereoscopic projection for the audience. A Pure Data patch was used to process her voice to create a virtual dragon’s voice, which can be heard in the video. During the year of research and development of this project, cárdenas began her real life hormone replacement therapy and wrote poetry and prose about the experience which was included in the performance. The project was realized through a collaboration between cárdenas, Christopher Head, Elle Mehrmand, Kael Greco, Ben Lotan and Anna Storelli.
More documentation of the performance is at secondloop.wordpress.com
Thanks to the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, CalIT2, Ars Virtua and the UCSD Visual Art Department.