STRANGE SOUNDS AND SIGHTS

MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS ARE REDEFINING THEIR WORK BY EMBRACING THE COMPUTER--AND SHAKING UP THE WORLD OF CULTURE

With shoulder-length red dreadlocks and an intense gaze, Jaron Lanier is a striking presence, even in the strange universe of performance art. But then he does nothing so routine as, say, recite sonnets while cartwheeling nude across a stage. Lanier is a virtual-reality performance artist. In his piece, The Sound of One Hand, which has played to packed theaters in Chicago, Toronto and Linz, Austria, he appears onstage framed by the image of a virtual world he enters when he dons special goggles and a DataGlove. His audience sees what he sees -- and what he does, which is bend and...

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