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Virtual Reality: Artist Eric Green
by Kay Daly
Intro | Bodies and Big Brother | Roxy To Reiki | Life Is Digital

Life is digital
Ultimately, Roxi09 makes a point about all of our lives online. "Life is Digital," the site proclaims on its homepage, and Eric points out that many of us actually do have a separate life that is purely digital. When we use instant messengers, participate in chat rooms, launch websites, or communicate by email, we create versions of ourselves that exists separately, as an online entity, Eric explains. A piece like Roxi09 speaks to how full-bodied these personalities can become and teasingly plays with the idea of a personality who exists merely in the virtual world, though with all the trappings of reality.

Since developing Roxi09.com, Eric has continued to pursue this tension between virtual and the corporeal, but in a much more pragmatic direction. Again taking inspiration from his mother, Eric has trained in Reiki, a form of energy work that seeks to create physical and spiritual balance. "Reiki works on the premise that there’s all this energy in the universe," Eric explains. "When the body becomes imbalanced in whatever way, due to stress or disease, the entire system is affected."

A hands-on process, Reiki is in the most literal sense a craft of bodily interactions. The Reiki practitioner lays hands on one or more of the 12 spots on the body that serve as key energy points. "Practitioners act as an antenna," Eric explains. "Wherever they put their hands, the energy just flows.

As his final project at ITP, Eric revisited the theme of bringing together the virtual and the embodied by creating an interactive CD-ROM to teach the practice of Reiki. Eric's program guides students of all levels in the techniques, history and philosophy of this healing art, using virtual demonstrations to direct the bodily interactions. He now markets his CD-ROM from his website, http://reikiproject.com, and has attracted clients from all over the world.

According to Eric, the virtual world created in his interactive CD-ROM is integral to his program's success. "Because it’s a hands-on practice, it's important to know where to put your hands and have that active engagement with the information," Eric explains. "It’s one thing to visualize it in your mind, but if you’re not seeing how it happens or seeing how it relates to other systems in your body, it doesn’t sink in."

But there's also a bit of a return to life lived online with his Reiki Project. In addition to marketing the CD-ROM, Eric's site provides a place for Reiki practitioners and enthusiasts to meet, chat and post messages. On his community boards, users take names like "firedragon" and "skydancer" and post messages about "a strange Reiki experience" and "Reiki for the world's peace." Through the online posts, they live their lives digitally and create a virtual community.

And who knows? Maybe someday Roxi09 will log on to chat.


tell it to the 'tat

Have you been busy making a Habitat of your own? Do you know someone who's living life outside the box? Tell us about it and you might just find yourself or your friend in the Show Off spotlight! Let the cohabitation begin.