Exhibition Catalog for Embodied Objects at Occurrence
March 15–April 21, 2018
Curated by Lili Michaud
Embodied Objects includes digitally fabricated weavings, 3D-printed sculptures and giclée prints made with biometric data-driven patterns and forms exploring embodiment, labor and emotion. The exhibition includes artworks created using (EMG) electromyography readings from Splan’s own body. “Manifest” is a series of sculptures based on readings that measured fluctuating levels of electricity in her facial muscles. Neuromuscular activities associated with experiences of wonder were performed as facial expressions and bodily movements (i.e. smiling in delight, blinking in disbelief, frowning in confusion). Each activity produced unique data that was translated into a curve using custom software written by the artist. Each curve served as a profile for a different 3D printed sculpture for the Manifest sculptures. The same data was used to generate the frenetic imagery in the Embodied Objects weavings and Recursive Expressions prints.
The imagery was generated by software designed to repeat, rotate, and randomly colorize the EMG waveforms in order to create “woven” patterns for computerized Jacquard tapestries and archival pigment prints. The computer-generated patterns “weave” the waveforms together in both directions—warp and weft. While the overall image of the print has a geometric, unified, and even tidy form, upon close inspection one can see the chaotic structure of each end of each waveform has been altered “by hand”. Using a stylus pen, the flat zero value at the beginning and end of each vector line has been teased out and reshaped by the artist to create thread-like details among the image.
The exhibition examines the potential for objects to embody human experience and to materialize the intangible. Her hybrid process interrogates notions of labor and craft as they relate to material and technology. By combining hand and digital processes with traditional textiles and new media technologies, the work destabilizes how each is categorized and valued. The narrative implications of these categories are mined for their potential to explore how technology, data, and cultural artifacts mediate our understanding of the human body.