[ISEA2013] Artist Statement: Michaela Davies — Attention Is A Scarce Resource

Artists Statement

Software, EMS equipment, sound, video

A dinner party is subject to the whims of invisible forces as electric muscle stimulation technology forcibly controls the movements of guests. The work is an anthropological look at the impact of mediated interruption on the everyday. Mediated interruption creates a compulsion in its users to engage. Systems do not prioritise user needs, nor consider the effects of interrupting a user during a task. Social organisation and the interests of the individual are both compromised as group values and individual accountability break down.

With performance by Reuben Alexander, Claire Conroy, Michaela Davies, Phil Downing, Sam Pettigrew, Matte Rochford, Lea Simpson & Mark Simpson. Video of the performance at ISEA2013 by Paul Warren.


  • Possessing both a doctorate in psychology and an accomplished ability in the pugilistic arts, Michaela Davies can perform a complete emotional dissection while delivering a near-lethal series of devastating blows. When she’s not busy reducing people to physical and emotional pulp, Michaela unwinds by creating performances which involve subjecting participants to extreme feats of endurance and public electro-convulsion, along with other less ethical preoccupations. Her work has received support from a number of august art and science institutions and festival organizers that were all simply too frightened to say no. Also an unrelenting force on the bass guitar, her path is littered with countless musicians who have been bludgeoned into submission by her treacherous headstock or coruscating remarks.
  • Paul Warren is one of Australia’s most experienced Directors of Photography. With over thirty-five years of experience shooting in the broadest range of cultures throughout the world, his portfolio is extensive and displays a huge variety of formats, styles and content. His knowledge and ability to cross between the different demands of long form feature films, documentaries and short films is formidable. This gives him a rare and versatile approach for the many ways of finding the appropriate visual dialogue for the story at hand. Paul’s first feature film ‘The Cup’ was in Official Selection for the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. His latest feature, ‘Wrath’, currently being released worldwide, is another example of his versatility in working with demanding stories and locations.His understanding of all the current formats and their impact on the story from pre-production right through to post-production is invaluable. He also teaches specialised digital camera courses at AFTRS. Paul is also a dancer. He has been dancing Argentinean tango for the past twelve years. “… Tango by its very nature is an improvised dance relying on connection, intuition and generosity within the embrace, and demands of its dancers, openness to the intuitive moment to create a ‘dialogue’ within the embrace”. PW. … Very much like his working life. Paul is a member of ‘The Conductors’ a performance group, embodying a restless search for combining different media and disciplines. Their most notable collaboration was based around time & space, performed at Carriageworks in Sydney as part of the ‘Expanded Architecture’ festival.