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.

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