Updated: Oct 14, 2020
January 25 - March 20, 2020
Curated by Laura Darlington and Selwa Sweidan
Beyond Embodiment features 25 pioneering female, non-binary, and trans artists whose work probes the boundaries of body and being. Physicality, identity, and presence are explored in actual as well as virtual space; biological systems, from the primordial to the posthuman, are examined and transfigured by technology. Situating the body as form and function, material and process, site and portal, these artists investigate the potentialities of the human condition.
Featuring: Kelly Akashi, Symrin Chawla, Gisela Colon, Gilda Davidian, Sandra de la Loza, M Eifler, Maru García, Dahn Gim, Sanglim Han, Claudia Hart, Xandra Ibarra, Huntrezz Janos, Yuehao Jiang, Anna Kostanian, Qingyi Li, Jacki Morie, Kelly Nipper, Cindy Rehm, Silvia Rigon, Martine Syms, Hiromi Takizawa, Tiffany Trenda, VJ Um Amel, Lisa Diane Wedgeworth, Amia Yokoyama
Laura Darlington is an artist and musician based in her hometown of Los Angeles. She studied at Smith College and Otis College of Art & Design, and is currently the Interim Director of the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) in Glendale, CA. Darlington has exhibited and performed internationally at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), Today Art Museum (Beijing), 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and Guggenheim House (Japan), São Paulo Museum of Art (Brazil), and locally at Human Resources, the Armory Center for the Arts, and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, among others.
Selwa Sweidan is an artist, educator and researcher based in Los Angeles. Her work investigates embodied methodologies and automated systems to probe technological innovation. Selwa was published in the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Journal (AAAI Journal). Her work has been exhibited at Artificial Knowing, Bevilacqua Gallery, Center Du Pompidou, HomeLA, Spring/Break Los Angeles, TheOther.online and University Arts Gallery, UC Irvine. She is currently a “collective resident” at NAVEL. Previously, she was a Fellow at George Greenstein Institute; a postgraduate Fellow at ArtCenter College of Design; an Interactive Design Fellow at Fabrica, a communications think tank in Italy; and was awarded “Best Overall” at the Microsoft Design Expo ’15. She has co-curated critical media symposia and group exhibitions including Performative Computation, STACKED Expo, Super Radiance and Clustering. She is Clinical Assistant Professor of Multimedia Arts at Loyola Marymount University. Selwa holds a BA from Smith College and an MFA from ArtCenter College of Design.
Darlington and Sweidan’s friendship and collaboration began almost 25 years ago at a women’s college in the Pioneer Valley; this theme of females at the frontier is brought full circle with the exhibition of Beyond Embodiment. Together they have curated female-focused arts + tech group exhibitions Clustering at Artificial Knowing and Performative Computation at NAVEL in downtown Los Angeles; Super Radiance at The Nook Gallery in Inglewood, CA; and most recently, STACKED Expo for Glendale Tech Week in Glendale, CA.
Kelly Akashi lives and works in Los Angeles. Trained as a photographer, Akashi approaches her sculptural practice with an eye toward the indexical, leading her to materials like wax, glass, and cast metal that can concretize a moment in time in hard materials. Her recent solo exhibitions include a thing among things, ARCH, Athens (2019); Figure Shifter, François Ghebaly, Los Angeles (2019); Long Exposure, SculptureCenter, New York (2017); Being as a Thing, François Ghebaly, Los Angeles (2016); and &, Tomorrow Gallery, New York (2015). Her works reside in the collections of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; CC Foundation, Shanghai; M Woods, Beijing; and Sifang Museum, Nanjing.
Kelly Akashi's photograms utilize her handblown glass objects as refraction lenses for a darkroom photogrammetry process. Arranged in the darkness, the glass objects cast shadows and caustics (magnifications of light) onto the photosensitive paper as Akashi manually creates a gradient of color by blocking light with a board. As images, the objects lose their scale, becoming both micro- and macro-objects evocative of single celled organisms or scientific diagrams.
Symrin Chawla is an artist and designer based in Los Angeles. Her work explores gesture and performance through biology, invisibility and perishability. Chawla received her MFA from University of California, Los Angeles. She is the co-curator of Decentralizing The Web, a public programming series created as a response to inequality and bias in global internet culture. Her work has been shown at Steve Turner Contemporary, In Lieu Gallery, Navel LA, and presented at California NanoSystems Institute in Los Angeles.
What does it mean to have transferred energy into an object that is now in a state of destruction? Electrons lost, exchanged when bodies meet. It is impossible to distinguish what is us from what is between us. Transmissions that occur across the boundaries of perception penetrate both mind and material. The fiction of distinguishing between animate and inanimate camouflages the true vitality of metal: hard matter in an ongoing state of decay. A three-part performance process, based in intuitive movement, mapped impact upon metal and was simultaneously recorded through vibrations directly to cassette tape. These performances are personal rituals of untangling the past from the present, to examine consciousness as it's produced through encounters. Performance-based sculptures are installed to respond to light and weight — connected collectively in reflection and shadow to reveal the geometry of their processes. In the space of whispers, they look omnisciently upon one another.
Gisela Colon has developed a unique sculptural language of “organic minimalism,” breathing life-like qualities into reductive forms. Born to a German mother and Puerto Rican father, Colon was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico (since 1967), and attended University of Puerto Rico (BA 1987). Colon moved from Puerto Rico to her adoptive home-city of Los Angeles to attend graduate school at Southwestern University (JD 1990). Colon’s sculptures reside in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Perez Art Museum Miami, The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Castellani Art Museum, Niagara, NY; Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO; Grand Rapids Museum of Art, Grand Rapids, MI; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA; Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA; and the Fredrick R. Weisman Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, amongst others. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles.
Gisela Colon's seductive, sleek, gender-fluid sculptures advance the discourse of minimalism by disrupting the traditional staid view of the hyper-masculine cold industrial object. Colon’s organic forms embody qualities of energy, movement and growth, merging the industrial with the natural. Oscillating between masculine and feminine, primitive and futuristic, liquid and solid, fecund and phallic, inert and biological, Colon's objects possess a confluence of polarities that take the minimal object to a new frontier, a new world where the man-made becomes alive in a post-human ontological reality.
Gilda Davidian is a photographer living in Los Angeles. Her practice asks questions about the relationship between photography and memory, and how we come to understand histories and locations through images. Davidian received her MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2014. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the MAK Center, the Korean Cultural Center, Monte Vista Projects, the Hessel Museum of Art, Human Resources, and Visitor Welcome Center.
These images by Gilda Davidian are part of a series titled Say That You Are a Stone, a photographic investigation that traces how cultural identity is pieced together through information that is transferred and translated generationally. The series uses photography to address the medium’s role as a catalyst in identity formation by looking at ways we interpret images. The images explore facets of familial and cultural inheritance, transgenerational transference, and acts of reconstructing history in an attempt to trace origins and visualize history. The title comes from a passage in Mahmoud Darwish’s In The Presence of Absence, written by the Palestinian author in 2006.
Sandra de la Loza
Sandra de la Loza’s work examines underlying power dynamics embedded in social space, often drawing upon extensive archival research and mobilizing community-based networks. She is the founder of the Pocho Research Society (PRS) (2002), a project that explores the elasticity of the artifact and the myth-making aspects of “History” through conceptual, performative, social and aesthetic strategies that result in multi-media installations, video, photographic work, social engagement, publications and public interventions.
In Mi Casa Es Su Casa, Sandra de la Loza interrogates historic photographs of her own Mexican-American family to address issues of power, memory, and history through the concept of home. By obscuring, blurring, and replacing the bodies and faces in the photographs, she points to the codes that comprise the family photo — the landscape, architecture, pose, and fashion to investigate the uneasy and slippery terrain of representation itself. Simultaneously searching for shifting, non-reductive portrayals while deconstructing hegemonic myths, de la Loza highlights a central paradox of our contemporary moment, where an increased social desire for fluid notions of identity coincides with a heightened demand to dismantle historic and current economic, political, and cultural violences.
M Eifler is an artist and anti-disciplinary researcher working in embodied interaction, speculative interfaces, and computational prosthetics. They have exhibited work or performed at TED in Vancouver, the Exploratorium, SFMoMA, the YBCA, and the Wattis Institute in San Francisco, XOXO, Wiensowski & Harbord in Berlin, Laurie M. Tisch Gallery and Armory Show in New York, Seattle International Film Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, and Kennedy Center. Eifler graduated from California College of Art in 2011 with an interdisciplinary MFA where their research focused on consilience interfaces between representational systems.
AI Acne started as a set of watercolor portraits on hydrophobic graphic paper, the blue lines shrugging off the pigmented water into a pixely grid. Next, these screen-conformed faces were scanned and minced into pixel valve data which was analyzed for statistical correlations with a dataset of faces using a deep neural network. Trained only on photographs, in this adjacent context the AI returned only low confidence scores, pockmarking the portraits with pimply guesses, each dot representing around 12 percent confidence that a face was present at that size and location.
Maru García is an artist, researcher, activist, and educator whose work questions the relationship and place of humans within nature. Through a transdisciplinary approach, her work addresses environmental and social issues and responds to new scientific discoveries and technological developments. Her methodology intersects with both social and hard sciences, combining laboratory, fieldwork, and research experience from her background in natural sciences and the chemical industry. Her work includes installations, performance, sculpture, and video, usually with the presence of some kind of organic matter to help understand the biological processes occurring in complex systems. She holds an MFA in Design & Media Arts (UCLA), MS in Biotechnology (Mex) and a BS in Chemistry (Mex). She is based in Los Angeles, California.
The culture is an experiment of an interspecies relationship occurring inside a tank. Water becomes the site of interaction between bacteria, yeast, plants, and humans for investigating the symbiotic process through embodied shared experiences and the exchange of matter. During this encounter, the artist shares experiences with the culture of bacteria and yeasts: playing music for them, chanting childhood songs, or integrating body residues such as hair or saliva. The microorganisms respond to these inputs, creating different cellulose films that integrate the artist’s culture. As a second stage, the artist shares space with the microorganisms, being now herself the one integrated into their culture in the tank. Documented by video and physical evidence generated by microscopic collaborators, this encounter takes as reference Donna Haraway’s concept of “Becoming with the other.”
Dahn Gim was born in Busan, raised in Toronto, and is now based in LA and Seoul. Since completing her MFA at UCLA in 2015, she has exhibited internationally, at venues including Steve Turner Gallery, Los Angeles; Currents New Media 2017, Santa Fe; Nuit Blanche: Art Souterrain 2017, Montreal; Dongdaemoon Design Plaza, Seoul; Barnsdall Art Gallery, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Somerset House, London; and TAG bxl, Brussels. Gim has received fellowships and awards from institutions such as Kala Art Institute (SF), UC Institute and Research in the Arts (UCIRA), International Emerging Artists Award (Dubai) and Curator’s Lab Award from Fellows of Contemporary Art. Gim has recently participated in residencies at Mass MoCA, Santa Monica Camera Obscura Art Lab, Vermont Studio Center, and
Stemming from personal experience, Dahn Gim’s work explores hybridity, both in concept and materials. Living abroad for the last 18 years, she finds herself continuously vacillating between the familiar and the unfamiliar, struggling with hybridized identity as a minority, immigrant, foreigner, Asian, and female. Through video, sculpture, and performance, she subverts and confronts feelings of discomfort, displacement, and isolation. Gim explores cultivated biological raw materials such as agar, yeast, and bacteria, synthesizing it with natural or human artifacts such as hair, sand and plastics. By blurring the line between natural and synthetic materials, the artist creates a strange new effect that mirrors the complex and ambiguous nature of her own hybridity, and also extends her inquiry into the relativity between historical, geological, and cosmological time.
Sanglim Han explores disembodied, fragmented, and interstitial bodies. Through performative media, primarily simulated 3D animations and interactive videos, she creates a site for fluctuating identities where our personal and social experiences are revisited and boundaries are convoluted. Her works have been presented internationally at various venues and festivals from Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, Switzerland, and Turkey to the USA. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her MFA from the University of California Los Angeles.
Venus Iteration explores the human body at micro and macro levels as an ecosystem full of trans-species entanglement. The human body contains ten times as many non-human microbial cells as human ones. Microbiomes coexist with human cells, having symbiotic, pathogenic, and reciprocative relationships with them. In the large-scale video projection, 3D models of representative species of microbiome have been digitally animated using Sandro Botticelli’s iconic Venus (c. 1485 C.E.) as the starting point. The video zooms into the newly-created Venus and navigates the virtual ecological community inhabiting the body at the microbiological level. Next to the video projection, 3D microbes crafted into tangible objects are exhibited on a table, also inviting viewers to examine their bodies through a custom-made digital microscope. Imagery of the enlarged body parts is juxtaposed with a virtual ecosystem in real-time. Our inextricable entanglement with microscopic realms suggests that the human form is not a whole entity, but rather a place where fragmented entities coexist.
Claudia Hart emerged as part of a generation of ‘90s intermedia artists in the “identity art” niche. She still examines issues of identity, now focusing on how technology affects cultural constructions of gender identities and issues of the body, perception, and nature collapsing into technology and then back again. Hart was an early adopter of virtual imaging, using 3D animation to make media installations and projections, then later as they were invented, other forms of VR, AR, and objects using computer-driven production machines, all based on the same computer models. At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she developed a pedagogic program based on this concept – Experimental 3D – the first program dedicated solely to teaching simulations technologies in an art-world context.
Recumulations re-examines possibilities first proposed by Trisha Brown in her systems style of choreography. In 1971, Brown composed Accumulations for a real body, then video recorded to become a canon in the history of mediated dance. In 2010, Hart re-interpreted the classic as a Cyborg body performing in nonlinear synthetic space. Hart’s version began as a collaboration with the performance artist Roberto Sifuentes, whose expressive, convulsive movements were motion-captured to provide raw data used to construct a dance simulation. Sifuentes’ male-gendered movements were recombined to form an irrational version of Brown’s hyper-rational composition which has been inserted into a hybrid avatar designed by Hart. The results are a Cyborg choreography that accurately expresses gravity yet at the same time uncannily defies it.
Xandra Ibarra is an Oakland-based performance artist from the US/Mexico border of El Paso/Juarez who sometimes works under the alias of “La Chica Boom.” Ibarra uses performance, video, and sculpture to address abjection and joy and the borders between proper and improper racial, gender, and queer subjects. Ibarra’s work has been featured at El Museo de Arte Contemporañeo (Bogotá, Colombia), The Broad Museum (LA), CITRU-Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (D.F., Mexico), Joe’s Pub (NYC) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF) to name a few. She has been awarded the Lucas Artist Fellowship in Visual Arts, Art Matters Grant, NALAC Fund for the Arts, ReGen Artist Fund, the Franklin Furnace Performance and Variable Media Award, and the Queer Art Prize Award for Recent Work. As a community organizer, Ibarra’s work is located within immigrant, anti-rape and prison abolitionist movements. Since 2003, she has actively participated in organizing with INCITE!, a national feminist of color organization dedicated to creating interventions at the intersection of state and interpersonal violence. Ibarra has taught Ethnic Studies, Sexuality Studies, and History and Theory of Contemporary Art courses at San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts, and San Francisco State University.
Filmed in Florida during the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon's arrival on Florida's east coast. A performance of the body's relation to itself via the significance of colonialism and a cinematic experiment in bringing to life a 'colonial peep' via concealment, obscuration, and opacity.
Huntrezz Janos is an Afro-Hungarian trans-fem alien with a degree in Experimental Animation from California Institute of the Arts. She has evolved alongside humanity since days yet to come, and was born in Los Angeles. She exists in a quantum state and makes art in a future that has long passed. She worships the number zero, and her mind and body are always in flux. Huntress is currently making work across mediums and collaborating with a diverse array of human beings. She presents her range of works in painting, music, animation, and performance almost weekly in different venues across LA.
I have been exploring my own identity through avatars made to my own design – moving sculptures in another dimension – a virtual projection of beings clothed in impossible garments that do not adhere to norms and rules that govern our space. Faces to be shared among people and objects without space.
Yuehao Jiang is a Chinese-born-in-the-90s-female-interdisciplinary-media artist based in Los Angeles. Her practice examines the relationship between mass-produced consumer goods and digital data under the impact of the Internet and global consumerism. She holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“What is a real body?” She investigated herself through a lens, then turned what she saw into 3D models and animations. Through her research, she found out that her body is microscopic, ephemeral, and abstract – far from what she’s been told or they’ve been saying.
Anna Kostanian is a Los Angeles-area artist originally from Yerevan, Armenia. Her work communicates themes of commitment, evolution and ancestry. She paints meticulous organic geometry composed in energetic patterns, often painted on the human body and photographed. Kostanian has had numerous exhibitions internationally and locally, including a solo show at Armenian Arts in 2017 and at Coagula Curatorial in 2018. She studied painting at Otis College of Art and Design.
My painting practice is an extended ritual depicting energy manifested as a human sort of pulsar. I defeat the decorative with an imprecise minimalism, asserting evidence of my hand in all of its imperfect glory. This is physical work, the gesture is a residue of my body, a woman’s body and the feminine nature of process painting pulsates in the work. My practice expands widely from this base. Displaying the work is offering a variant on possible multitudes. A standalone pulsar painted on vellum may have been part of a larger installation and is now a singular work. Photographic documentation captures my work painted on bodies, women’s bodies. All of my painting is a private performance to capture space and time. The viewer is but a witness to this evidence of the energy of ancient starbursts, my pulsars.
Qingyi Li is a designer and entrepreneur who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Having grown up in an artistic family, she developed an interest in both art and new media, earning her master’s degree in Media Design Practices at Art Center College of Design. She channels her previous studies and work in the fashion industry to combine futuristic interactive wearable technology with freedom of fashion expression, epitomizing her design philosophy that “form is functional.” Qing merges Fashion Design with Media Design, integrating these disciplines into her visions of Dimensions of Human Interactions.
Make Up Circuits is a systematic form of communication that starts from the skin. Using on-body technology and conductive make-up, the project enables users to construct circuitry connections across their body surfaces, including the face and limbs. Cross-user touching can form new circuits to create networks between bodies. Make Up Circuits critiques contemporary wearable technology, which prioritizes focused interaction with individual devices, detracting users’ attention from self and other.
Dr. Jacquelyn (Jacki) Ford Morie has been at the forefront of immersive world technology since 1990, working on affective and meaningful implementations of virtual environments. She received her PhD in this topic from the University of East London's SmartLab in 2008. She has developed multi-sensory techniques for virtual reality (VR) that can predictably elicit emotional responses from participants within simulated environments. She is also active in online 3D virtual worlds, and has been bringing her VR techniques for mindfulness to Second Life and NASA astronauts. Her other research interests include space, identity, and play in virtual worlds, and she has presented extensively on these topics at conferences worldwide.
The patented scent collar RemniSCENT™brings a variety of scents to a virtual space. The release of the odorants is achieved via BlueTooth signal in the VR interaction code. This signal goes to the collar and causes the reservoir holding the scent to open so that the smell can be released near one’s nose. Since smells are perceived in an extremely personal and unique manner, there is no way to predict with certainty what memories or associations might be unleashed by a particular scent. Our reactions to scent are affected by our experiences, as what happens around us while we smell a rich or novel odor contributes to the lasting memory it forms. Olfactory research shows that scents add a strong emotional power to our everyday life, and can do the same for virtual environments, making them even more memorable.
Kelly Nipper is an artist based in Los Angeles. Her work has been the subject of solo presentations at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland; and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. Her performances have been commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland; South London Gallery, UK; and Performa, New York. Nipper’s work is in the public collections of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, MOCA, the Hammer Museum, the Israel Museum, and Galleria d’Arte Moderna, among other institutions. She has served as visiting faculty at UCLA, MIT, and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Nipper received her MFA from CalArts in 1995.
Kelly Nipper’s conceptual practice explores the relationship between physical intimacy and technological advancement. Since the late 1990s, she has been working with dancers to question the connection between the camera, spatial dimensions, body mechanics and inner-body connectivity, and the weather. She draws on a network of interrelated research interests, including the study and analysis of human movement, communication theory, geology, and the production and organization of space, revealing what happens when ritualistic activity encounters highly structured and designed systems.
Cindy Rehm is a Los Angeles-based artist and an educator. She serves as co-facilitator of the Cixous Reading Group, and is co-founder of the feminist-centered projects Craftswoman House and Feminist Love Letters. Rehm’s interdisciplinary practice moves between drawing, performance, and video to address the cultural suppression of women’s narratives and the legacy of hysteria. Rehm’s work has been shown at venues including Elephant, Los Angeles; Woman Made Gallery, Chicago; LACE, Los Angeles; Goliath Visual Space, Brooklyn; Paul Robeson Gallery, Rutgers; ARC Gallery, Chicago; Transformer, Washington DC; Interaction IV, Sardinia, Italy; the Archeological Museum, Varna, Bulgaria; and Mains d’Oeuvres, Saint Ouen, France.
My project The Formless is What Keeps Bleeding is comprised of collage drawings in response to Marcel Duchamp’s installation Étant donnés. The lifeless female body in this work is a composite of three women who were central to Duchamp’s life; they haunt the body at the center of Étant donnés, a figure frozen in splayed form, her visible pubic mound rendered as a gash, a wound offered up for visual penetration. She is the dead girl in the woods, she is all the female bodies ravished by misogyny, all those discounted, dismissed and dismembered throughout history. She is broken, torn apart, but in pieces she is everywhere. Her potent female energy can be divided but not destroyed. She Came in Through the Gash considers this ravaged body as a portal for the spirits of violated women to return to the world to enact revenge upon their persecutors.
Silvia Rigon explores the continuous negotiation between the singularity and the constraints structuring the physical world manifested in multiple, relational dimensions. She is interested in challenging assumptions of anthropocentric exceptionalism that have traditionally framed our ambivalence towards nature. Her practice includes multimedia installations, experimental animation, prints, and sculptural fabrications. Her work has been exhibited in such venues as The Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan; The Center for Contemporary Art, Tallinn, Estonia; Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria; Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena; The Parachute Factory (Yale University), New Haven; The Center of Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland; California Institute of Nanotechnology, Los Angeles; and Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles. She holds a degree in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice (Italy), and an MFA from the Department of Design/Media Arts at UCLA (2002). She is a faculty member at Pasadena City College, Department of Visual Arts and Media Studies, and at USC, Media Arts + Practice.
Bioreveries explores my interest in natural patterns and the structural similarities that exist across different realms. It meddles with the arc that connects microscopy illustration to advanced simulation technology. It looks at mathematical biology and growth algorithms to create a spatial condition in which practices of representation, imagination, and simulation intertwine. It employs media nomadism as a way to explore transformation and loops in the techno-natural continuum. The forms refer to different tissues of the body, such as the osseous, the vascular, and the epidermal, whose structural patterns change over time.
Martine Syms uses video and performance to examine representations of blackness. Her artwork has been exhibited and screened extensively, including presentations at the Museum of Modern Art, Hammer Museum, New Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, among other institutions. She has lectured at Yale University, SXSW, California Institute of the Arts, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, and MoMA PS1, among other venues. Syms’ recently-presented exhibitions include BOON, Secession; Shame Space, ICA Virginia Commonwealth University; Grand Calme, SCHQ; Big Surprise, Bridget Donahue Gallery; Contemporary Projects: Martine Syms, Serralves Museum; Projects 106: Martine Syms, Museum of Modern Art; and Fact and Trouble, ICA London. From 2007-2011 she was the co-director of the Chicago artist run project space Golden Age, and she currently runs Dominica Publishing, an imprint dedicated to exploring blackness in visual culture. She is the author of Implications and Distinctions: Format, Content and Context in Contemporary Race Film (2011). She is a faculty member in the School of Art at the California Institute of the Arts.
This photograph from the installation Incense, Sweaters & Ice addresses issues of watching, being watched and remaining unseen, while driving at the tension between surveillance and self promotion that pervades our many avenues of self documentation and broadcast. The photograph makes use of the app WYDRN?, programmed specifically for the work. When viewers open the app and hold their phone over the photograph, facial recognition technology triggers a series of images/sounds/videos to play on their phone.
Hiromi Takizawa was born and raised in Nagano, Japan and lives in southern California. She received an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently an Assistant Professor in Glass at California State University, Fullerton. Curiosity, experimentation, narrative, and materiality are the core concepts in her work. Hiromi has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Heller Gallery and Urban Glass in New York, and group exhibitions in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, and Bergen, Norway.
My current creative research and practice evolved around nature and the landscapes of the Pacific Rim. I attempt to bring wonders, discoveries, and natural phenomena that I find to be fascinating into my studio, and I work to capture and transform them into something imaginary, unseen, and strange-yet-familiar using the inherent nature of the material of glass and light.
Tiffany Trenda is a performance artist based out of Los Angeles. She received her BFA from Art Center College of Design and her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, Design and Media Arts program. In 2008, Trenda won Artist of the Year at the London International Creative Competition Awards. She has performed at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, the Broad Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Scope Art Fair, A+D Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Art Exhibitions, Boulder Contemporary Art Museum, the Italian Cultural Institute, and at the 55th annual Venice Biennale. Trenda has exhibited at Faena Art Center in Buenos Aires, Context Art Miami, and the Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City. Her work was recently included in Neotopia at Art Center Nabi in South Korea and the permanent collection of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Tiffany Trenda’s performances and installations explore the relationship of the human body, particularly the female body, to technology. She interchanges her identity with screens to represent how we conceal and reveal ourselves through our devices (smart phones, computers, etc.). As these devices become an integral part of our daily lives, we relate to them as if they are part of our skin. Therefore, we are constantly choosing between the physical and the simulation of our bodies through virtual realities, social media, etc. We are no longer living in the present but through the screen. This changes how we form memories and how we interact with the outside world.
VJ Um Amel
Laila Shereen Sakr (a.k.a. VJ Um Amel) is Assistant Professor of Media Theory & Practice at University of California, Santa Barbara, where she co-founded Wireframe, a new digital media studio that supports critical game design, data visualization, VR/augmented realities, digital arts, and activism. Shereen Sakr has shown at San Francisco MoMA, National Gallery of Art in Jordan, Camera Austria, Cultura Digital in Brazil, DC Fridge Art Gallery, and 100 Copies in Egypt, among others. Over the last two decades, she has been a leading voice in the open source movement, particularly for Arabic localization. She is Co-Editor of the journals Media Theory and After Video, and Research Collaborator in the Global Media Technologies & Cultures Lab at MIT. Shereen Sakr holds an M.F.A. in Digital Arts and New Media from University of California, Santa Cruz, an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, and a PhD in Media Arts + Practice from the University of Southern California.
VJ Um Amel uses emergent technologies to expand our vocabulary for communicating with each other. Similar to the way in which punk music was a reaction against hyper-polished rock ‘n’ roll of the time, this aesthetic – based on computer malfunction, or “glitch” – is a reaction against the ultra-high-definition images, saturated beyond real color, portrayed in contemporary media. The call to Touch Data Body X is an invitation to experience haptic manipulation, in this case, of frequency modulation. This installation is made possible by the UCSB Carsey-Wolf Center Faculty Research Support Award.
Lisa Diane Wedgeworth
Lisa Diane Wedgeworth was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She studied photography at Howard University, and earned both her B.A. (2005) and M.F.A. (2014) in Studio Art from California State University, Los Angeles. Her work is informed by memories and personal narratives that exist at varying levels of her consciousness and those she collects from observing others in public spaces. Her work takes form as painting, video, performance, and collected oral histories. In paintings, abstraction is employed as a visual language to map emotional and psychological energies that are conjured as she engages and considers her personal relationships, as well as her status as a woman in her forties. Video and durational performance are extensions of her investigations in painting, in which she confronts and explores identity, gender, and trauma. Wedgeworth has participated in both national and international artist retreats and residencies including The Georgia Fee Artist/Writer Residency (Paris, France) and The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Englewood, Florida). Wedgeworth was recently awarded the C.O.L.A. Individual Artist Fellowship.
The Hair Text Series is a suite of paintings that read as fragmented journal entries. Synthetic hair is manipulated into a new writing system that reveals trespasses against the female body.
Narrative of Hair Text No. 1:
“She touched without
asking. Although it
looked rough, it was
softer than expect-
ed. It smelled of herbs
and foreign rituals. It
was greasy. Anxiously,
she wiped her fingers.”
Amia Yokoyama is a multi-media artist who works with animation, video, sculpture, and installation. Her work marks a space where symbols and aesthetics taken from her personal mythology, science-fiction, traditional Japanese mythos, and industrialized landscapes become abstracted into hyper-realities. Yokoyama’s time-based works are not invested in sense-making or cohesive narrative, but in partiality, in delivering a story in pieces, leaving a trail of potential. She uses organic, synthetic, and digital materials to create hybrid figures and interworldly spaces of fantasy. Yokoyama graduated from CalArts in 2017 with an MFA in Experimental Animation, and was awarded residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and Flux Factory.
My work is a continual re-examination of the concept of origin. The idea that the place from where I come or where we collectively come is a constantly moving/shifting location that is tied to the context of the present and to each other. What occurs in the moment when the boundedness of one collides with the boundedness of another? I am interested in ecstatic states of change, not in a linear direction, but out in all directions, in favor of multiplicity, illegitimacy and fragmentation. I am interested in relation, in intersectional moments of self-creation, in panoramas where everything is tirelessly reforming and alive, animated energies pushing against pre-formed systems of categorization. A process of actualizing. A space called love.