The Art of Responsive Lingering

     What bodies do in a space for a stretch of time is the axis of my embodied sculptural art practice. I construct environments for experiences that often include possibilities for interactions to occur. These environments, or spaces, contain various combinations and layers of video, sound, textiles & handcraft, sculpture, electronics and/or performance. Working from a belief that there is no Cartesian divide between body and mind, to be present in an experience necessarily then includes awareness through all of the senses, including the mind. My practice is therefore rooted in the creation of embodied sculptural installations, and is presently evolving to include other forms of participation. Though the materials and ways to experience my art vary widely, at the core, they all relate to time, and how the audience relates within the work to time. As embodied philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty writes, “Time is…not a real process…It arises from my relation to things.” True to the nature of time itself, the presence of time in my practice is ever unfolding, offering new relationships, patterns, creases and expanses to explore. Whether individual pieces are video or sound installations, or participatory performances, that my art demands time from an audience presents interesting challenges.

Sensing the increasingly shallow presence with which many people experience life’s day-to-day moments in our data-driven contemporary world, my artistic response has been to create slower tempos and spaces that encourage bodies to be; to be–or linger–in a space and experience different qualities within their own bodies and senses. In their general state of rest-lessness responding to the perceived acceleration of life, not every audience member is easily able to give themselves to an embodied experience. Moreover, today’s viewer, consciously or unconsciously, is most often expecting a return on their temporal investment. How then to facilitate opportunities through my art, wherein the audience can slide into fully inhabiting themselves differently in time and space?

Presently I am responding to this question by creating embodied participatory performative art experiences that encourage the audience to linger. Sympathetic to my approach to art-making, specifically the intention for durational presence of an audience, is the concept of scented time put forth by cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han. Scented time is slow, it lingers in our awareness and leads to feelings of fulfillment. Scented time offers us an alternative to the staccato time of data and systems that shape so much of the general human experience today, and brings us back to the body.

It is the tension and possibility of this space between the infosphere and the biosphere, that I address in my work. Working with temporality to create a space wherein the audience is invited to linger, their body becomes both an activated material of the work itself as well as a site for the experience of the art. I situate my art in embodiment because of its strength as a methodological tool for balancing the effects arising generally from the perceived acceleration of life. Humans develop understanding and find meaning in life through flow. Flow relates both to scented time and to perceptual experience. Flow is developed relationally to events and subjects in a space, through durational stretches that one attends to with their full sensory capacity. In this way, experiences are meaningful because they are embodied. The quest to manifest possibilities for flow and embodied lingering through art is the starting point for the development of my installations and performative works.

I build sensory-rich intermedia environments in order to manifest the invisible, and experience the conceptual, through the body. How this motivation manifests differs across time and space with each project, and often involves several layers or textures both materially, as well as through sensory stimulation. By focusing my practice materially with what is typically considered invisible, such as air, breath, sound, time, change…I am able to situate the viewer more directly in an embodied experience. As contemporary philosopher and professor at the University of California at Berkeley Alva Noë writes, “The scope of experience extends to what is hidden. How far does our visual consciousness extend?” A recent embodied intermedia sculpture, Everything in Life is Vibration–Albert Einstein (2021) exemplifies the multi-dimensionality in both concept and materials with which I approach temporality in the performative works of my art practice. This multi-dimensional performance also creates a sensory-engaged experience that is further supported by the embodied philosophy of both Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Byung-Chul Han. *(link to supporting writing about their texts)*