Time Capsule

Eduardo Kac

Time Capsule ,
Co-workers & Funding
Co-Worker: Seigo Matsuoka
  • Time Capsule
    180 × 135
  • Interview: One on One (Part 1)
    1920 × 1080
  • Interview: One on One (Part 2)
    1920 × 1080
"Time Capsule" is a work-experience that lies somewhere between a local event-installation, a site-specific work in which the site itself is both my body and a remote database, a simulcast on TV and the Web, and interactive webscanning of my body. The live component of the piece was realized on November 11, 1997, in the context of the exhibition "Arte Suporte Computador", at the cultural center Casa da Rosas, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. "Time Capsule" was carried live on the evening newscast of the TV station Canal 21 and on tape by two other TV stations (TV Manchete and TV Cultura). The webscast was transmitted by Casa das Rosas.
The object that gives the piece its title is a microchip that contains a programmed identification number and that is integrated with a coil and a capacitor, all hermetically sealed in biocompatible glass. The temporal scale of the work is stretched between the ephemeral and the permanent; i.e., between the few minutes necessary for the completion of the basic procedure, the microchip implantation, and the permanent character of the implant. As with other underground time capsules, it is under the skin that this digital time capsule projects itself into the future.

  • aesthetics
    • interactive
    • performative
    • site-specific
  • genres
    • bioart
    • installations
      • interactive installations
    • performance art
      • video performances
  • subjects
    • Body and Psychology
      • bodies (animal components)
Technology & Material

To consider some of these questions, we need only to look closer at the present, not the future. If one's unique signature is in the genetic code, in order to leave an undeniable authentic mark one doesn't need to sign his or her name in blood. A special pen containing ink infused with one's own DNA, which is currently available to fight counterfeiting, is all that is needed. Radar tracking, or the use of tagging and tracking technology to monitor at a distance the position and behavior of animals as small as a butterfly and as large as a whale, is also a case in point. The emergence of biometrics, with its conversion of irrepeatable personal traits--such as iris patterns and fingerprint contours--into digital data, is a clear sign that the closer technology gets to the body the more it tends to permeate it. The current successful use of microchips in spinal injury surgery already opens up an unprecedented area of inquiry, in which bodily functions are stimulated externally and controlled via microchips. Experimental medical research towards the creation of artificial retinas, using microchips in the eye to enable the blind to see, for example, forces us to accept the liberating effects of intrabody microchips. At the same time, the legal seizing and patenting of DNA samples from indigenous cultures by biotech companies, and their subsequent sale through the Internet, shows that not even the most personal of all biological traits is immune to greed and to technology's omnipresence.