feminism Tag

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! But I still consider it to be in Beta, because it currently is only fully-functional on Firefox browser and Google Chrome browser.  But hey, little steps.  Safari is coming up next!

 

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.

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

Click here to visit Laughing Web Dot Space

Credits

Graphic Design – Laura Lalonde

Backend Programming – Sofian Audry, Conan Lai, Ismail Negm

Frontend Programming- Koumbit

Exhibition History/Upcoming

October 3 -23, 2018 – Eastern Bloc, Montreal

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

February 2019 – Her Environment, Chicago

Press/Interviews

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

(2011)

Works for video, audio, and digital images

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

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 communicated.  In this artistic exploration I performed/embodied Echo as image, in a video intended as love song that seems to be for an absent Narcissus (this is necessary to give Echo presence at all!), however it exists as a perverted gesture towards Echo’s self.

(Description continues below video)

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.

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.