[ISEA97] Artists Statement: Marta Lyall & Annika Newell – Human Exchange / Temperature Differential

Artists Statement

Our bodies are the “source” of information for developing technologies, and the fuel which sustains them. Organic materials, (flesh/bone) and processes, (breathing/perspiring), provide the territories and maps which guide our technological advances. Over time these technological constructions begin to lose any semblance to their organic origins, and become encased in institutionalized beliefs. We are interested in finding ways through the seemingly impermeable membrane enclosing technological assumptions. Through our collaboration we have developed an installation which expands upon these ideas. It is composed of two reciprocal systems; one located inside the other. The exterior thermodynamic system uses electromechanical forms to create an exchange while the interior system uses electromechanical reaction to create a form through exchange. The room will be lined ice, which serves as a medium to cool a sheet of glass upon which catches condensation from mechanical breathing devices. This is the thermodynamic exterior system. Fuel cells,(batteries) made of and powered by hair along with house hold current together power a crude bone grafting method based on electroplating technology. This is the electrochemical interior system. Upon entering the space, people will become aware of the cold atmosphere and hear the irregular sound of breathing coming from the mechanical devices. By their presence in the room they will add the heat of their bodies and the cadence of their breath to the work.

  • Marta Lyall (USA) holds the position of Assistant Professor of Electronic Time-based Media in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. Her work has always involved working with science and technology. During her graduate studies, she gained insight into scientific approaches while helping to construct 80 Drift Chambers, a project with sci­entists from the University of Chicago, at Fermi Lab. She has recently been exploring the insertion of organic mate­rial into electro-chemical and electronic processes. This work includes developing crude bone synthesis using 19th century electro-chemical processes, and the development of piezoelectric membranes from bone collagen. In the Fall if 1996, she received a Faculty Development Grant from Carnegie Mellon University to support these investiga­tions. In addition, she teaches courses in imaging tech­nologies, including VRML, (Virtual Reality Modeling Language), and computer-based multi-user networked environments.
  • Annika Newell (U.S.A.) has a background in biology and art. She is pursuing studies involving kinetic metaphors for biological tendencies. Currently her work involves a two-fold inquiry; re-investigating early recorded electrical experiments, and human behavioral studies. Predominant areas of interest include chemical communication and communication through body posture and gesture. From these queries she incorporates components of mechanized movement into metaphorical form. One central challenge is for the sculp­ture itself to generate, or be more integrated with its own movement. Recently she constructed an electromagnetic device which serving as a pump, displaced air to and from a gender generator.This past January, she spent a 3 week residency in Poznan Poland, where she developed Reverence: Man in History/History in Man, with Marta Lyall, a performance/installation examining the interrelation of technology and history. She has plans to participate in a group exhibition, The Found Order, next Spring in Slovenia. Annika received her BA from the University of California, Davis in 1995, and is currently working on her MFA at Carnegie Mellon University.