[TISEA 1992] Artist Statement: Nelia Justo – Audio Body Suit: A Second Skin

Artist Statement

The use of electronic and mechanical technology in art is a relatively new process in my work. My interest has developed from the abundance of electrical/electronic products that are so infused in our everyday lives. To recontextualise these products and their components into an art arena, with the theatrical composition of a sculptural installation, I can then begin to examine their socialising/desocialising effects on their human environment.

The cube/box form that I commonly use as a basic structure is always seen in relation to the scale of the human body. These boxes are much like very unsophisticated robots, with limited movement. By incorporating readymade electronic/mechanical devices as an aid to animate these box-like structures, the viewer can begin a dialogue between themselves and the `essentially’ inanimate object. The object never has much utilitarian function, if any. The sound component is always mechanised: recorded, computer voice text, or machine hum.
The Audio Body Suit is a development of previous works dealing with the dialogue between humans and machines. I have brought the machine into a more intimate space with the body. The speakers become a prosthetic-like device to, ironically, transmit speech from within the human body. From the outset it fails as a functional device the body sounds merely mimic the true sounds (a digital process) — just as the ‘skin’ has undergone a process from its original owner.

Leather, electronic components

The artist wishes to thank Rhys Rees for his magnificent sound mastering and the gentlemen of Jaycar Electronics City Store for their continued assistance.

  • Nelia Justo, Australia