Teaching | Research Statement

Research Interests:
Sensorial and Relational Objects
Gesture and Affect
Systems, Algorithms, Physical and Wearable Computing

Research Statement:

My research and work focus on the embodied and multi-narrative qualities of gesture and sensorial experience. My sculptures explore the ways that physical computing, materiality, and interactivity engage with contemporary discourses on the body, agency, and conceptions of self. Gesture is the fulcrum of this work, leading to sculptures and installations that are relational and responsive. Embedded electronics and algorithms enable dynamic interactions with viewers that use intensified sensory engagement to access a narrative structure of the self. I am influenced by Lygia Clark’s Sensorial and Relational Objects which use ritualized and focused gestural performances to reframe the processing of memories, inter-personal interactions, and conceptions of self.

This work applies strategies of material and sensory juxtaposition to objects that combine traditional sculpture materials with embedded electronics. The resulting sculptures call on our embodied knowledge and temporal sensibilities in a new process which builds on the suggestion in Clark’s work that relational objects can be transformative. Sensors and those algorithms which interpret their data allow for a sustained immersion in the embodied experience of intimate communication. The viewer’s participation is actively invoked by this sensory attunement and the attendant association of personal embodied memory. The use of computing as material attempts to open viewers to novel variations in sensory language, prompting them to devise new engagements with its syntax. By provoking new associations, the sculptures arouse the possible mutability of the viewers’ narrative consciousness.  A critical aspect of this work is the possibility of expediting an embodied response to stimuli that is usually passively processed. Through amplification and sustained interaction these sculptures experiment with a collaborative process of play and exploration which facilitates ways of knowing that are beyond logic. Like Clark’s Structuring the Self process they activate sensory experience to loosen a productive potential, an opening of oneself into other possible worlds.

These sculptures use technology and sensory engagement as their materials. They lead to further questions: What worlds become possible if we take seriously these strategies of sensory engagement as guides when building with new technologies? What types of sensations might I and others discover, as sculptors, by thinking of algorithms and computational hardware as both material and relational? What possible worlds might we discover and proliferate if we invent new forms – new sensations to structure the self – that challenge the popular inevitability of techno-deterministic dystopia?