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  • Exhibition Fee Applies €8/€5, Students & Under 18 Free

Imaginary State(s) is a live virtual-reality performance by artist Elaine Hoey. Specially commissioned by IMMA, the work is part of the major group exhibition Desire: A Revision from the 20th Century to the Digital Age.

Imaginary State(s) fuses paradigms from theatre and online computer worlds to create a real-time, live virtual-reality performance. This work poses difficult questions about how anxiety and fear can manifest within a society when the desire for individuality/difference is repressed through predetermined national identity politics. It explores the concept of the ‘other’ by examining the nature of physical and non-physical borders and boundaries. When states of existence go beyond the physical, ideas of bodies, borders, and nation-states break down, become abstract, non-binary and open to reinterpretation. The performance confronts constructs of personal and national identity to reveal the process of othering inherent in such constructions.

In describing the work, the artist quotes the literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, and educator George Steiner, “It is not the literal past that rules us, it is images of the past. Images and symbolic constructs of the past are imprinted, almost in the manner of genetic information, on our sensibility”.

Upon entering Imaginary State(s), the viewer encounters two actors performing live from remote locations. The actors question and resist the imposition of predetermined identities. The live and the virtual combine to explore the fluid and performative nature of identity, place, and representation. The self-as-subject becomes progressively redefined and re-imagined as a performer within the non-space, instead they are asked to participate in the active dissolution of the boundaries between physical and the virtual, which produces a real-time performance that is both immediate and visceral.

Debut performance:  Saturday 12 October 2019. 10.30am – 12.30pm & 2.30 – 3.30pm.

Artist talk with Elaine Hoey: Saturday 12 October 2019. 1 – 2pm.

Please note: This performance uses VR headsets. Two people can take part in the performance at any one time. Attendance is based on a first come, first served basis.

About the Artist

Elaine Hoey

Elaine Hoey works mainly creating interactive based installations, appropriating contemporary digital art practices and aesthetics to explore the politics of digital humanity and our evolving relationship with the screen. Although her work mainly evolves around the exploration of virtual reality technologies she also incorporates a wide range of digital art mediums into her practice such as, video editing, 3d sound, programming, projection mapping, motion capture and image manipulation.
View Artist

About the performance

Imaginary State(s), 2019 is a live virtual reality performance. It includes computers, screens, cables, VR headsets, sensors and 2 remote performers. Duration: 12 minutes. The performance takes place 9 times within each timeslot.

Performance schedule

Debut performance:

Saturday 12 October, 2019. 10.30am – 12.30pm & 2.30 – 3.30pm.

1 – 2pm: Artist talk with Elaine Hoey


Other dates:

Friday 25 October, 2019

Friday 22 November, 2019

Friday 24 January, 2020

Friday 21 February, 2020

Friday 20 March, 2020


Times each Friday

12.00 – 12.20 pm

12.20 – 12.40 pm

12.40 – 1.00 pm

1.30 – 1.50 pm

1.50 – 2.10 pm

2.10 – 2.30 pm

2.30 – 2.50 pm

2.50 – 3.10 pm

3.10 – 3.30 pm


Desire: A Revision is proudly supported by Kildare Village