Ersatz is a responsive, 3D computer-generated self-portrait, created using 3D body scanning and motion capture techniques, and presented as a life-sized performer within an interactive installation environment. The intention was to build upon the long tradition of artist’s self-representation in art history and expand upon this important genre within the context of 21st-century technology and techniques, adding to current theoretical debate on the nature of reality and virtuality. Beverley’s aim was to creatively explore how a synthetic and obviously manufactured figure can provoke an intimate and meaningful encounter with the viewer, yet at the same time remain recognisably artificial. The installation switched between two animated states, created using motion capture data and a body scan of the artist. The Waiting (unaware) and Posed (aware) states, were triggered by the audience’s proximity to the work, giving the sense of a character precariously existing in a state between anticipation and observation.

The installation was developed as part of a Leverhulme Trust funded artist-in-residence post at the Edinburgh Virtual Environment (EdVEC), University of Edinburgh, from Sept 03 - June 04, with project costs funded by an AHRB Small Grant in the Creative & Performing Arts. The work was exhibited at the Creative Digital Interaction Symposium, Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland (2004), Budget Bureau, Centre D'art Contemporarin, Geneva, Switzerland (2005) and [prologue], Cornerhouse, Manchester, England (2005).

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