“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.