feminism Tag

FILE Festival São Paolo

FILE Festival – SESI Arte Galeria

Exhibition Opening June 25, 2019

Exhibition runs from June 26 to August 11, 2019

Avenida Nossa Senhora da Penha, 2053, Ed. Findes, Santa Lúcia, Vitoria – ES – Brazil

I am proud to present my interactive web work Laughing Web Dot Space in São Paolo, Brazil through the FILE Electronic Language International Festival. Laughing Web Dot Space is an online website for recording and listening to the laughter of survivors of sexual violence. The site does not collect any data beyond presence.

I’m encouraged that the curators invited me to show this work in the context of media art in Brazil. Currently, the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro is known for his anti-homophobic and misogynist statements. He has taunted woman about rape and called women tramps. Under this government, artists have been subject to death threats and intimidation, including calls to dissolve the culture department into education. I look forward to sharing the defiant laughter, hope, joy, and solidarity of Laughing Web Dot Space with the public in Brazil during this very important festival for media art.

Elektra Festival Montreal

Project H.E.A.R.T. (Holographic Empathy Attack Robotics Team) (2017), my popstar/militainment VR game mashup with an affective control interface made in collaboration with Alex M Lee, is going to be featured at the upcoming Elektra festival XX in Montreal!  Look for it this June!

 

Exhibition opening: June 7, 6pm-9pm

Exhibition Dates: June 7-15, 2019

Perte de Signal 5445 Avenue de Gaspé local #107, Montréal, QC H2T 3B2, Canada

 

Click here to check out the full programming of Elektra Festival 2019

Book: Robotic Imaginary

My robotic artwork Swarming Emotional Pianos is featured in image and text on p 131-132 of Jennifer Rhee’s newly published book: The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor (2018, University of Minnesota Press).  The image above is just a photo of me relaxing with a coffee as I read the first few pages…

This amazing book details AI from a perspective that is driven by emotion and humanity, while referencing the work and the influence of women and poc in a way I haven’t seen before. I found myself constantly thinking: yes, yes as I read the book!

 

From the official description of the book:

The word robot—introduced in Karel Čapek’s 1920 play R.U.R.—derives from rabota, the Czech word for servitude or forced labor. A century later, the play’s dystopian themes of dehumanization and exploited labor are being played out in factories, workplaces, and battlefields. In The Robotic Imaginary, Jennifer Rhee traces the provocative and productive connections of contemporary robots in technology, film, art, and literature. Centered around the twinned processes of anthropomorphization and dehumanization, she analyzes the coevolution of cultural and technological robots and artificial intelligence, arguing that it is through the conceptualization of the human and, more important, the dehumanized that these multiple spheres affect and transform each other.

Drawing on the writings of Alan Turing, Sara Ahmed, and Arlie Russell Hochschild; such films and novels as Her and The Stepford Wives; technologies like Kismet (the pioneering “emotional robot”); and contemporary drone art, this book explores anthropomorphic paradigms in robot design and imagery in ways that often challenge the very grounds on which those paradigms operate in robotics labs and industry. From disembodied, conversational AI and its entanglement with care labor; embodied mobile robots as they intersect with domestic labor; emotional robots impacting affective labor; and armed military drones and artistic responses to drone warfare, The Robotic Imaginary ultimately reveals how the human is made knowable through the design of and discourse on humanoid robots that are, paradoxically, dehumanized.

 

Click here to view more information on the book at University of Minnesota Press

 

Entanglements Exhibition Chicago

Laughing Web Dot Space is featured in Entanglements Exhibition curated by Her Environment

Saturday – 1/26 through Friday 2/15

Yards Gallery, 2028 S Canalport Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
www.theyardsgallery.com @theyardsgallery

Click here for Facebook Event Page for the Opening

Entanglements challenges both the logical and emotional connections between us and our technology. The tensions that surface from these dynamics are often all encompassing; they seep deeply into every aspect of the human condition. Through accepting that technology is an integral part of our lives, we explore what it means to have a relationship with it.

This show is a collaboration between the curators and the artists in which we create a space where electronics, wires, and artworks are deliberately installed to visualize the complexities and closeness of the human/technology relationship. We are reminded of the global connection that technology can bring with works such as Erin Gee’s “Laughing Web Dot Space” website where visitors are invited to record their laughter and join in with a chorus of other laughs belonging to other survivors of sexual violence. Jen Kutler also uses the power of human connection as her piece “The Other” is a polyphonic textural synthesizer driven by skin contact between two people. The system is able to recognize very subtle changes in pressure and movement, so when two people touch fingertips what comes out of the speaker is a synthesis of physical connection.

The show also explores the very complicated ways in which there is a mutual balance of power and reveals the ways in which the power of destruction can hide beneath the surface of the interface. With works such as Snow Xu’s “Perfecthuman Harasser,” a machine that catcalls human passersby, we see that because we humans are the creators of the machines, our biases show up in the development of technology and can cause more harm on groups that already experience social disadvantages.

Through the dynamic conversations of all of the pieces we invite the visitors to take an experiential walk through our take of contemporary relationships with technology.

Please join Her Environment at Yards for the opening reception of Entanglements on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7pm-11pm.

Artists:
Anxious to Make (SF and LA)
Erin Gee (Montreal)
Hannah Newman (Portland)
Snow Xu (Chicago)
Madeeha Lamoreaux (Chicago)
Sara Goodman and Sasha Tycko (Chicago)
Jen Kutler (New York)

Review: Canadian Art

Amber Berson wrote a thoughtful review on the occasion of Eastern Bloc’s 10th anniversary exhibition Amplification that features discussion and images of my first internet-artwork https://laughingweb.space

This exhibition meant a lot to me as an artist that has been supported by Eastern Bloc over the years not only by the fact that they have exhibited me and involved me in many projects…but also I have been enriched an supported by their fantastic programming.  I salute Eastern Bloc and wish them all the best in their next 10 years!

To read the article, click here.

LAUGHING WEB DOT SPACE

An interactive website and virtual laugh-in for survivors of sexual violence.

The URL: https://laughingweb.space

This website enables survivors to record and listen to the sounds of their laughter, and through the magic of the internet, laugh together. Visitors of any gender that self-identify as survivors are invited to use the website’s interface to record their laughter and join in: no questions asked. Visitors can also listen to previously recorded laughter on loop.

Why laughter? Laughter is infectious, and borne of the air we still breathe. We laugh in joy. We laugh in bitterness. We laugh awkwardly. We laugh in relief. We laugh in anxiety. We laugh because it is helpful for laugh. We laugh because it might help someone else. Laughing is good for our health: soothing stress, strengthening the immune system, and easing pain. Through laughter, we proclaim ourselves as more complex than the traumatic memories that we live with. Our voices echo, and will reverberate in the homes, public places, and headphones of whoever visits.

The site is officially launched on October 3rd, 2018!

Dedicated to Cheryl L’hirondelle

This project was commissioned by Eastern Bloc (Montreal) on the occasion of their 10th anniversary exhibition. For this exhibition, Eastern Bloc invited the exhibiting media artists to present work while thinking of linkages to Canadian media artists that inspired them when they were young. I’m extremely honored and grateful for the conversations that Cheryl L’hirondelle shared with me while I was developing this project.

When I was just beginning to dabble in media art in art school, the net-based artworks of Cheryl L’hirondelle demonstrated to me the power of combining art with sound and songwriting, community building, and other gestures of solidarity, on the internet. Exposure to her work was meaningful to me – I was looking for examples of other women using their voices with technology. Skawennati is another great artist that was creating participative web works in the late 90s and early 2000s – you can check out her cyberpowwow here.

Click here to visit Laughing Web Dot Space

Credits

Graphic Design – Laura Lalonde
Backend Programming – Sofian Audry, Conan Lai, Ismail Negm
Frontend Programming- Koumbit

Special thank you to Kai-Cheng Thom, who with wisdom, grace, and passion guided me through many stages of this work’s development.

Exhibition History/Upcoming

October 3 -23, 2018 – Eastern Bloc, Montreal. Curated by Eliane Ellbogen

February 16, 2019 –The Feminist Art Project @ CAA Conference – Trianon Ballroom, Hilton NYC.

February 2019 – Her EnvironmentYards Gallery, Chicago. Curated by Chelsea Welch and Iryne Roh.

June 26 to August 11, 2019. SESI Arte Galeria, FILE festival, São Paulo, Brazil.

Reviews/Interviews

(2019) https://chiartshub.com/2019/01/27/review-entanglements-forces-us-to-consider-our-relationship-to-technology/

Fields, Noa/h. (2019). “Dangling Wires: Artists Examine Relationship with Technology in Entanglements.” Scapi Magazine (Chicago). https://scapimag.com/2019/02/05/dangling-wires-artists-examine-relationship-with-technology-in-entanglements/

Fournier, Lauren (2018). “Our Collective Nervous System.” Canadian Art. https://canadianart.ca/interviews/our-collective-nervous-system/

Berson, Amber (2018). “Amplification” Canadian Art. REVIEWS / OCTOBER 23, 2018. https://canadianart.ca/reviews/amplification/

Review in Canadian Art

I really appreciate this article by Tatum Dooley for Canadian Art on the Worldbuilding exhibition curated by John G Hampton and Maiko Tanaka at Trinity Square Video. My work Project H.E.A.R.T. which highlights VR and emotions made with Alex M Lee is featured, among other great works by Jeremy Bailey Kristen D Schaffer Eshrat Erfanian and Yam Lau.  Following is an excerpt from the article:

“The gamification of our bodies renders the physical form void, replaced by screens where our bodies and emotions can be morphed and manipulated. Perhaps the only way to create art with technology as advanced and recent as VR is to reckon with its potential consequences.

Gee’s project, the most realized out of the four artists in the exhibition, masters this reckoning. I spoke with Gee in the lead-up to the exhibition, and she explained the conceptual backbone of the piece. “I’m working through questions of emotional sincerity when it comes to self-help. In theory, if you can technologically master your emotions, if you can just make yourself excited, then you can make yourself a better, happier person. I don’t know how sincere that is…”

Click on the link below for the full article.

VR and the Failure of Self-Help Technology

In general, I feel very proud of this work but also very exhausted by it.  Through the project I’ve been working through the relationship between pop music and war, self help and sincerity, and ultimately I’m working through these issues of technique and technology in how life and trauma comes to us.  During the panel for the exhibition, there was a question of whether I was “pro-war”, and it’s one that I have received a few times in facebook messages from curious friends from far away.  The project is complex and difficult to read because I think it has to be.  It reflects my own mediatized understanding of international conflict, maybe my own frustration at my lack of understanding.

The best I can understand war is how it is mediated to me: through video games and news cycles, through abstract discussions on the radio. The goal of this project was never to address the terror and complexity of geopolitical conflict, but rather, to propose a psychedelic pop culture mirror, imagining a video game ruled not by characters that espouse self-righteous violence and grit, but technologically manipulated empathy and enthusiasm.  This game fails to address war in the same way that all technologically mediated attempts to do so fail to address war.  I also am also dissatisfied at the idea of an artistic protest that makes a cartoonish, morally didactic utopia where rainbows and love shoot out of guns instead of flesh-tearing bullets. I think the answer about the politics of this game lie in the end screen: an abstract screen that confronts you with statistics of death and trauma as a result of the battle itself.  I don’t think there is a way to win the game.

Erin Gee - Voice of Echo

Voice of Echo

Voice of Echo Series: 2011. Works for video, audio, and archival inkjet prints.

Exhibition history:

  • Dream Machines. TCC Chicago. Curated by Her Environment, August 16-30 2016.
  • Voice of Echo (solo exhibition) Gallerywest, Toronto. Curated by Evan Tyler, January 5–27, 2012.
  • Parer Place Urban Screens. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane AUS. May 18-20 2012.
  • Uncanny Sound. TACTIC, Cork, Ireland. Curated by Liam Slevin, September 14-24 2012.
  • Contemporary Projects. Curated by David Garneau and Sylvia Ziemann, Regina SK, 2011.

Propelling the mythology of Narcissus and Echo into a science-fiction future, I translate Echo’s golem-like body into a digital environment.

I became Echo in a silent performance for camera: a love song for an absent Narcissus (who is necessary to give Echo presence at all!). I later interpret the digital data from these images not in imaging software, but instead in audio software, revealing a noisy landscape of glitch, expressivity and vocality.  I bounced the data back and forth between the audio and image softwares, “composing” the visual and audio work through delays, copy/paste of image. While the natural world and human perspective created a cruel hierarchy between a human subject/image and a golem-like nymph who was invisible except as voice, technology and machine perspective allow the image and the sound to coexist and presuppose one another. The work is a futurist, emancipatory tale of non-human wrenching itself from dependency on human and instead revealing itself as an entangled, co-constitutive force.

What is the Voice of Echo?  It exists as repetition – of human voice, of Narcissus, a voice that extends anothers’ voice, this other body is somehow more tangible than Echo’s own body. The voice of echo and other non-human voices are unconscious and environmental, ambient, existing beyond symbolic content, the repetitions. The voice of Echo exists as a bouncing of processes, a distortion, a glitch, born of a love and desire uttered but never really heard.

(Description continues below)

I took stills from this love song and translated the raw visual data into an audio editing program, choosing particular interpretation methods to “compose” the echo.  I bounced this data between photoshop and audacity multiple times, eventually coming at glitched sounds of data interpretation, as well as an accompanying distorted image for each “song”.  Echo may only traditionally exist as a re-utterance of Narcissus’ voice, but in this case her cyberfeminist reimagining points at perverse loops somewhere between love, repetition and becoming.

 

Below is the “original video work” that got the call and response process started.

Voice of Echo: Song of Love for Technological Eyes (2011) silent HD video for monitor playback, 18:01 (looped)  Photography by Kotama Bouabane.

Echo is in love with recording technology, particularly the video camera. The mirrors emanating from her throat are her concrete manifestations of her voice – the lovesong intended for the camera’s eye.