[ISEA97] Artist Talk: Susan Alexis Collins – Public vs Public: The Pedestrian Gesture

Artist Statement

A kind of collision between the real and the virtual — a collaging of moving images and sounds onto real space — has formed the sculptural and conceptual basis for much of Collins’ work to date, with aspects of human behavior in public (including that of the viewer/participant), the subject matter so central to the work. Made as a response to a given site or situation, these interactive pieces—usually audio and video—aim to engage the viewer in an inquiry or reinterpretation of their role within specific and often everyday contexts. They are an attempt to make the audi¬ence recognize and question accepted behavior in public situations while also showing, of images, sounds, and site, the oddity of mundane social interactions.

The presentation will show documented examples of the presenter’s recent site-specific public interactive interventions on streets and in train stations including, Pedestrian Gestures, which was shown in Linz, Austria as well as various train stations in the UK; other works commissioned specifically for the gallery or museum including Tate Gallery St Ives; Tramway, Glasgow; Videopositive 95; Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. The presenter will also introduce a forthcoming project, “In Conversation” an audio/video interface between a street in Brighton and the internet, taking place in November/December 1997 (http://www.ucLac.uk /slade/sac) which is attempting to reintroduce these two very different kinds of public space for social interaction to each other. Collins will question the role of the public in the choreography, realization, and interpretation of the work; raise issues concerning the differences between the reactive and the interactive; and consider what might constitute a truly “public” medium.

  • Susan Alexis Collins (UK). Born London, 1964. BA hons Fine Art Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, 1987, postgraduate study at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Fulbright Scholar) 1990/91. Recent awards include Arts Council of England/ Channel 4 Hi Tech award (1995); European Artist’s Residency (Pepiniere) for Köln (1996); Individual Artis’s Award from London Arts Board (1997). Early com­puter animation works: the London International Film Festivals; the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro; The Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Siggraph 92 Electronic Theater, Chicago, and the Berlin VideoFest. Commissioned public site-specific interactive installation works include: sensor-controlled sound and video installa­tion for the Woolwich Foot Tunnel in London 1993; interactive audio, video and robotic installation for the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester 1993; video projected lit­ter’ onto the streets of Liverpool 1994; interactive audio/video intervention for Hull, Manchester, Nottingham, and Linz train stations 1994-96. Commissioned gallery installa­tions include Audiozone 1994 for V-topia at Tramway,