Vanguard I (the five-body problem) (2018)
collaboration with Anna Eyler

As our repositories of knowledge become increasingly digital, this media-based sculpture questions the relationship between technology, information, and embodiment. Drawing on the visual vocabularies of science fiction, data centres, and video games, Anna Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe offer multiple windows onto a virtual landscape, questioning what lies behind, below, and beyond the digital frontier.


Evoking at once Modernist architecture and data servers, Vanguard I (The Five-Body Problem) is a tiered, modular structure constructed from transparent Plexiglas and electronics, punctuated by a series of small screens. Fans and circuit boards are mounted to the exteriors, as cascading wires form connections between the structure’s levels. The screens themselves face the interior, and as such, are visible only obliquely through the mediation of the structure. Positioned at different heights, the screens offer multiple views of the same virtual landscape. Across a desert terrain, amorphous, cyborg bodies glide silently from screen to screen. Vanguard I (The Five-Body Problem) speaks to the unseen data---the ghosts in the machine---that exist behind our virtual environments. By conflating the architectures of physical and virtual spaces, the work offers an alternate view of the invisible algorithms governing our digital identities. At the same time, the work serves to highlight---and indeed, animate---the traces of data that we leave behind.