Carl Kostyál – Sun Woo: Invisible Sensations

(13 May – 11 June, 2022)

Private View: Thursday, 12 May: 6-8PM

In Luc Besson’s 90s sci-fi cult film The Fifth Element, a blue-skinned alien opera singer named Diva Plavalaguna dazzles the audience with her profound vocal range and dance moves while performing an aria composed by Eric Serra. According to movie trivia, Serra designed this futuristic opera to be impossible for a human to master, as it requires the singer to shift from one high note to another within seconds. As a result, Diva Dance was performed off-stage by a singer named Inva Mula-Tchako, who sang the notes individually for them to be rearranged on the computer. In this iconic scene, Diva transcends the bounds of the human, achieving the unachievable through the help of technology.  

Today, technology has grown so fused in our bodies and minds that it has become nearly invisible—most uninformed audiences would fail to detect the mechanical presence in Diva’s performance. Behind the veil of our consciousness, these devices not only allow physical enhancement of our bodily form and function but also provide a vivid sensation of an ‘extended’ self, liberated from the constraints of reality as our bodies and their real-world interactions within society are constantly translated into data. In a period marked by such invisibility of our cybernetic extensions, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish what deficiencies or limitations are being obscured and which vulnerabilities remain hidden in devices that exhibit the hybridized presentation of the self.

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