[ISEA2020] Curator Statement: Melanie Wilmink (curator) — Sensorium: The Centre for Digital Art and Technology

Curator Statement

Sensorium: Centre for Digital Art and Technology (York University, Canada) is pleased to present the exhibition “Life, A Sensorium,” as part of ISEA2020. The exhibition unfolds at the nexus of art, science and technology through the works of artists affiliated with Sensorium, who collectively explore the entangled ecologies of the post-natural world. Through multi-sensory experiences that include installations, virtual and mixed reality, 360° videos, performances, expanded media and sculptural forms, these artists explore the different ways that contemporary sensorial relations -human/non-human, natural/ artificial- stage complex articulations and expansions of the real. In this show, computer-generated organisms interact with viewing bodies. Site-specific installations, kinetic sculptures, virtual environments, and video games explore our interactions and collaborations with multi-species ecologies. The works in “Life, A Sensorium” range from shadow plays and optical illusions to VR wanderings through cosmic orchestral stagings. The blended physical and virtual nature of these aesthetic interactions and environments provide access into worlds not ordinarily perceptible. In this virtual iteration of the exhibition, we present excerpts of documentation and interviews with the artists as “capsules” of their artistic practice.

For these videos, artists were asked: “What does sentience mean to you with respect to your work?” and “Why sentience now?” as prompts to explore the situation of their work within the ISEA2020 theme.

ARTISTS Freya Björg Olafson (CA), MÆ-Motion Aftereffect [performance & video, 2017-ongoing] Nicole Clouston (CA), Lake Ontario Portrait [sculpture with mud & microbes, 2017-ongoing] John Greyson (CA), Hammer [360° video, 2020] David Han and Aidan Waite (CA), Is there a way to be gone and still belong? [interactive software, 2020] Mark-David Hosale (CA) and Jim Madsen (CA), Messages from the Horizon [interactive kinetic sculpture, 2019] Alison Humphrey (CA), Shadowpox: Citizen Science Fiction [media installation & workshops, 2018-ongoing] Evan Light (CA), Snowden Archive-in-a-Box [wireless network & sculpture, 2015-ongoing] Taein Ng-Chan (CA), Inside the Chrysalis [360° video, 2020] Jenn E Norton (CA), Cucoloris domesticus [media installation, 2012] Joel Ong (SG/CA), Terra Et Venti [media installation, 2018] Michaela Pnacekova (SK/DE/CA/DE), Symphony of Noise [VR, 2019] Dan Tapper (UK), Machines to Listen to the Sky [media installation, 2013-ongoing] Michael Trommer (CA), Ancient Thoughts and Electric Buildings [360° video, 2020] Doug Van Nort (US/CA), GSO: Genetically Sonified Organisms [site-specific audio installation, 2017-18] Graham Wakefield (UK/CA) & Haru Ji (KR/CA), Infranet [neural network & media installation, 2018].

  • Melanie Wilmink holds a PhD in Art History at York University, Toronto, Canada. Her research examines the relationship between spectatorial experience and exhibition spaces within interdisciplinary media installations. This academic research is supported by her curatorial work including various projects as Programming Coordinator at the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (2007-2012), the Situated Cinema Project mobile micro-cinema (Pleasure Dome, 2015), and the Winter Warmer (Sidewalk Labs Toronto, 2019). Her recent publications include the anthology Sculpting Cinema (2018) and Landscapes of moving image: prairie artists’ cinema (forthcoming), both co-edited with Solomon Nagler. melaniewilmink.com.