An image of the promotional poster for the 2018 performance, "I Am Sitting... IV" in Bergen, Norway, depicting Champlin with a 3D printed EEG device on her head.

I Am Sitting… IV

Past performances: 

  • May 17, 2018; Without Borders Festival at Lord Hall Gallery; Orono, ME, USA (view on youtube)
  • June 10-12, 2018; Thresholds of the Algorithmic at Lydgalleriet; Bergen, Norway
Link to video of “I Am Sitting… IV” at Without Borders Festival in May, 2018.

I Am Sitting. . . is an immersive performance and sound installation in which a live performer is seated, in meditation and wearing an EEG instrument, in the center of an array of 8 inward-facing speakers. Eight channels of live-streamed EEG data are transformed into a sonic landscape that is both intimate and expansive. The sounds are spatialized in accordance with the geography of the eight electrode sensors of the instrument in order to create the sense of listening to the brain from the point of view of its owner, the performer.

The performance space is defined by the perimeter of speakers, and invites the audience to enter into the space, move about within it, and become part of an immersive bio-feedback experience. The resultant sound responds to the environment, especially the presence of the audience, by articulating external influences on the brain activity of the performer.

This work speaks to the thresholds at work within our perceptions – of self, of environment, and the distinctions between the two.

It also illustrates a dialectic between author and subject. Do our perceptions and actions generate our world, or are we experiencing a determined universe, an algorithm that is simply playing itself out? This quandary extends from the performer in meditation through the audience experiencing the piece, both questioning their role at the threshold of influence.

Finally, I Am Sitting. . . hovers in the space between the intimate and the interpersonal. How much of me is you? Can we fine-tune our perceptions to be more, or less, sensitive to our social conditioning? Which signals qualify as communication? The piece puts the audience (and performer) in an active state of testing these thresholds, teasing our intuitive and intellectual senses to dialogue with one another and form dynamic hypotheses about the nature of perception and interaction.

This piece is dedicated to the inimitable Alvin Lucier.

Sound installation, speakers on a wall in a gallery

Lasting and Leaving

“Lasting and Leaving” is a generative sound art installation built with MaxMSP for a multichannel array. Random periodic sequences are triggered by foot traffic in a public space.

This installation was inspired by a 1913 score ‘Musical Sculpture’ by Marcel Duchamp, later interpreted as ‘Sculptures Musicales’ by John Cage: “Sounds lasting and leaving from different places and forming a sounding sculpture that lasts.”

The piece is also a personal recalling for me, at the end of my MFA studies. I began my research into systems thinking and communication thanks to a pilgrimage undertaken in Japan, which cemented for me the idea that an environment becomes the embodied experience of those who travel through it, leaving traces and taking pieces with them.

Listen here:

The first full installation of “Lasting and Leaving” took place in the Without Borders Festival in May-June of 2018.

Text excerpt from John Cage score "Sculpture Musicale"
Sound installation, speakers on a wall in a gallery
Sound installation, speakers on a wall in a gallery

Image credits from Without Borders Festival: James Winters @2018

Transfer

Transfer

Transfer is an experimental photographic study using tableware and direct sunlight. This study was undertaken as an exploration of signal transference, mediation, and pattern recognition. The components used recall the elements of a traditional still-life construction, but the results bear no resemblance. The images produced and presented have not been manipulated for effect, but are simply a record of the informational transactions between the sun, the object, and the camera — or in terms of communication, the transmitter, the filter, and the receiver.

These images, as with all still-life images, exist in the continuum between formalism and semiotics. The history and tradition of still-life is nearly as long as that of human image making, but are these images a study of pure light and form or are they a study of symbolic objects and their situational rhetorical vocabularies? At what point in our communications stream do we grant the attribute of meaning to what is otherwise simply data?

Transfer is on exhibit at the IMRC Center of University of Maine from November 27 to December 1. More info….

I Am Sitting... II 8

I Am Sitting… II

“I Am Sitting…” is an experimental performance installation which explores the potential of the mind to manifest itself in direct terms without mediation by physical gestures. Champlin has been developing it since early 2016 and has presented multiple iterations of the project, and has recently completed a residency at Hangar Interactive Labs in Barcelona to develop new instrumentation.

In this piece, EEG and ECG sensors capture passive bioactivity. A chain of simple translators in the form of custom hardware and software introduces the bio signals into primitive audio and video feedback loops, amplifying them to allow subtle changes in Champlin’s physical experience to percolate up as broad variances in the perceivable environment. Nothing seen or heard is prerecorded.

In partial homage to work by Alvin Lucier in the late 1960s, “I Am Sitting…” draws inspiration from two key points of interest. Firstly, and literally, work attempts to comment on the notion of bypassing the choreography of artmaking – moving outside the traditional notion of composition – such that the art is in the composition of the process itself. Secondly, the project’s roots came from an attraction to research by others such as Ernst Chladni and Hans Jenny regarding the transference of signals from one medium to another through the reductive mechanism of their underlying frequencies.

Within these contexts, this work attempts to demonstrate one method of removing the external gestures of performance and using internal control structures, such as information-coded biofeedback, in their place to effect an external change in the viewer’s perceptive field.

As the project has developed, Champlin has focused increasingly on the nature of networked communications systems and the implications they have for neutrality and mediation in language. The feedback loop’s responsiveness to minute fluctuations in EEG signals demonstrates the clear inability of the artist (as a component in a system) to be truly neutral.

Bearing the Light 17

Bearing the Light

In May, 2017, Champlin participated in a collaborative installation event at Fort Knox in Prospect, Maine. The collaboration involved 9 artists over 2 days, in a format that allowed a one-time 24 hour window to design and install a transformative experience within the depths of the Fort. The results took the form of a sort of pilgrimage of light and sound, leading an audience through a series of vignettes that responded to the visual and acoustic topology of the existing structure, playing with light and shadow, reflection and reverberation.

Susan Smith, coordinator of the event, spoke of the effort as a way to “come together – as artists and collaborators – to work with this site, and communicate to a need, especially now, to reflect upon our relationship to self and others, and to the world. We invite participants to experience this place, get lost in it, and unsettle our notions of where and who we are.”

Participating artists: Alicia Champlin, Eleanor Kipping, Stasiu Levitsky, Jim Winters, David Allen, Nathan Dumis, Michelle Bezik, Derek Smith, and Susan Smith.