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Digital Mudra

Sonya Rapoport

Digital Mudra

Sonya Rapoport
  • Date: 1989
  • Style: Cyber Art
  • Genre: installation

In a 1987 interactive installation at the Kala Institute entitled "Digital Mudrā" Rapoport returned to the data acquired from "Biorhythm: How Do You Feel?". She associated each participant's gesture with one of 52 hand gestures known as Mudrās. In doing so, Rapoport suggested the cross-cultural correlations of hand gestures and their trans-cultural meanings. Mudrās and their word meanings were juxtaposed within a western context and transcribed onto a computer printout and also, into a Kathakali dance. Rapoport discovered that the words people chose to describe their gestures in western culture, and the words given to the gestures in the Mudrā vocabulary were surprisingly similar. Finally, Rapoport created a slide presentation showing current political leaders making similar gestures having similar verbal contexts.

In 1988 she received a grant from the California Arts Council for the production of "Digital Mudrā" online via Carl Loeffler and Fred Truck's Art Com Electronic Network (ACEN). In 1989, a simplified version of "Digital Mudrā" was uploaded to the Internet as a web-based interactive artwork. A part of the simplified "Digital Mudrā" is shown on the left.

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